In case you haven’t read about it yet, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed banning the sale the ban of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York eateries, food carts and stadiums.
Citing the rapid rise of obesity in the city, the proposed ban is only on sweetened options that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces.
We understand the health risks posed by obesity, and we do not maintain that government avoid food industry regulation altogether. After all, our own business is inspected by the federal government daily for food safety.
The problem – and once again, we know there is a problem – is that Americans are not overweight solely because of a reliance on over-sized portions of sugary drinks. The problem is a combination of many different things: dependence on motorized transportation and a sedentary lifestyle, high intake of processed foods, particularly those containing corn and soy additives, government subsidies for that same corn industry, and consumer demand for large portion sizes.
But picking on sweet soft drinks alone doesn’t seem to attack any of these problems. It just gives a small portion of the problem a disproportionately large part of the blame. It’s like banning pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving dinner but allowing people to consume massive quantities of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Our company does not manufacture soft drinks or have a vested interest in selling them, so we are not against this legislation for selfish reasons. But we do think that this ban is a lopsided attempt to deal with the issue, and we are rightly concerned that banning large soda will create a slippery slope that will be hard to get back up.