(NEW YORK) — A proposal to curb the sale of large sugary soft drinks in New York City is raising new complaints about big government, even among some who agree with its intent to curb obesity.
If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, the ban would prevent restaurants, delis, and even movie theaters from selling sugared drinks larger than 16 fluid ounces. Drinks in cups and bottles larger than that would be illegal. Larger sizes of water, milk and fruit juice could still be sold.
It’s part of an ongoing fight against obesity in the Big Apple, where more than half of all residents are obese or overweight. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told The New York Times that he’s targeting the drinks because they carry loads of sugar, empty calories and cause people to gain weight without helping them feel full — an idea the city has been pushing in public service ads since 2009.
The mayor’s proposal has already received some stiff push back from the beverage and fast food industries.
“The people of New York City are much smarter than the New York City Health Department believes,” Coca-Cola said in a statement Thursday. “We are transparent with our consumers. They can see exactly how many calories are in every beverage we serve. We have prominently placed calorie counts on the front of our bottles and cans and in New York City, restaurants already post the calorie content of all their offerings and portion sizes — including soft drinks.”
“New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this,” the Coca-Cola statement continues. “They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase. We hope New Yorkers loudly voice their disapproval about this arbitrary mandate.”
McDonald’s echoed those sentiments, telling ABC News in a statement, “Public health issues cannot be effectively addressed through a narrowly-focused and misguided ban. This is a complex topic, and one that requires a more collaborative and comprehensive approach.”
The fast food company said it makes nutritional information readily available to its consumers. “We trust our customers to make the choices that are best for them,” McDonald’s said in its statement.
The proposal is already the talk of the Internet, with some arguing that government has no right to interfere in personal health matters.
Former White House press secretary Dana Perino, who served under President George W. Bush, tweeted, “[S]omething about government banning huge sugary drinks that makes me want to chug a mountain dew. and I haven’t chugged the dew in years.”
Another Twitter user asked, “[W]hy create a ban?! Why can’t people have the knowledge & willpower to decide for themselves?”
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