This morning, the New York State Court of Appeals released a 20-page opinion confirming what industry lobbyists and guys at protests dressed up like giant soda bottles have been saying for a while: The city far “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” with its proposed ban on sugary drinks in sizes greater than 16 ounces. Earlier rulings singled out the “arbitrary and capricious consequences” of the proposed change to health code, which cast Department of Health workers as foot soldiers in the fight against diabetes and obesity.
Opponents of the ban repeatedly cited problems with the regulatory structure, as well as inconsistencies with enforcement, such as permitting giant, vitamin-D-fortified milkshakes to be sold, but not behemoth sports drinks made with electrolytes and neon food coloring. Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to clarify the language of the ban, and makes its rules more transparent, before the appeal, but was ultimately unsuccessful. This morning, the city’s health commissioner released a statement saying the 4-2 decision “does not change the fact that sugary-drink consumption is a key driver of the obesity epidemic.” It will now commit to other ways to knock those jumbo, refreshing colas out of your hand.