Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

May 1, 2013

2 Min Read
NYC Soda Ban Opponents Weigh in on Appeal

NEW YORKGroups representing beverages, restaurants, local movie theaters and other interests have urged an appeals court to affirm a ruling that invalidated a prohibition on sodas larger than 16 ounces sold in New York City.

"This case is not about obesity in New York City or soft drinks," lawyers for the groups wrote last week in the preliminary statement of an appeals brief filed with the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. "It is about whether the Mayor [Michael Bloomberg] and his Board of Health can usurp the authority of the City Council and decide for themselves what the law should be."

The American Beverage Association, National Restaurant Association and The National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State are among the groups that successfully challenged Bloomberg's planned prohibition on large sugary drinks. In March, a judge enjoined New York City officials from enforcing the ban after finding the health board exceeded its authority and issued an "arbitrary and capricious" regulation because it excluded certain establishments.  

Lawyers for the Big Apple have filed an appeal, contending the judge interpreted too narrowly the health board's authority. But if that position was validated, Bloomberg and his health board would have "unchecked authority to make law on nearly every aspect of human activity because almost everything we do can be said to have 'public health' implications," groups that challenged the ban argued in their brief.

In September 2012, the New York City Board of Health voted to pass the anti-obesity measure, Bloomberg's brainchild. A month later, it was challenged in a 61-page lawsuit.

New York City officials have defended the ban as a rational decision in the fight against fat. More than half of adults in the city are overweight or obese, according to Mark Muschenheim, Assistant Corporation Council for the City of New York. In his March 12 appeals brief, he characterized the soda restriction as "a measured response to a health crisis".

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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