NEW York City has officially appealed a judicial ruling striking down the city's ban on large servings of sugar-sweetened beverages, and the appellate court said it will hear the case during the first week of June.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who proposed the ban, said he is confident that the ruling will be reversed.
The ban would have prohibited delis, restaurants, street carts, movie theaters and sports stadiums from serving sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 oz. It defined sugary as drinks with more than 25 calories per 8 oz.
Bypassing the city council, the ban was adopted instead by the New York City Board of Health, whose members were appointed by Bloomberg (Feedstuffs, Oct. 1, 2012). Its original effective date was March 12.
However, a coalition of beverage, restaurant and theater interests sued to block the ban's implementation (Feedstuffs, Oct. 22, 2012), and New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling enjoined the city from implementing the ban last month (Feedstuffs, March 18).
Tingling ruled that the health board overstepped its authority and that the ban should have been in the purview of the city council. He also said the ban was "fraught with arbitrary and capricious" provisions.
For instance, it did not apply to convenience and grocery stores or to drive-thrus, even the drive-thrus of affected restaurants. It also did not prohibit a consumer from buying two servings or a refill.
Violations would have been subject to $200 fines.
Meanwhile, epidemiological research presented at a scientific seminar of the American Heart Assn. last month concluded that "sugar-sweetened sodas, sports drinks and fruit juices may be associated with about 180,000 deaths around the world each year."
The researchers said they used data from the "2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study" to calculate the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed by adults around the world by age and sex and to determine the impact of this consumption on diabetes- and obesity-related deaths.
The researchers linked sugar-sweetened beverages to 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 deaths from cancer.
They said the deaths disproportionately occurred in low- and middle-income parts of the world.
The American Beverage Assn., in a statement, said the research was not peer-reviewed or published in such a way that its methodology could be fully evaluated and "is more about sensationalism than science."
The researchers made "a huge leap" when they used beverage consumption calculations to allege that sugar-sweetened beverages are the cause of deaths due to chronic illnesses, the statement said.
At the same time, U.S. consumption of carbonated soda is declining in favor of water, particularly bottled water, according to data from Global Information Inc. (GII) in Farmington, Conn.
Americans are consuming 44 gal. of soda per person per year, down 17% from 1998, when soda consumption peaked in the U.S., GII said. Over the same time frame, Americans increased consumption of water 38% to 58 gal. per person per year and increased consumption of bottled water nearly 50% to 21 gal. per year, GII said.
The shift is due mainly to health issues, GII said.
The information was published in a new report, titled "The Future of the U.S. Non-Alcoholic Drinks Packaging to 2017," and additional information and sample pages are available at www.giiresearch.com/report/can262603-future-us-non-alcoholic-drinks-packaging.html.