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National Restaurant Association - NRA, others seek to delay New York soda ban

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NRA, others seek to delay New York soda ban

Beverage manufacturers and sellers have asked a New York judge to delay enforcement of a ban that would limit the size of sugar-sweetened drinks in restaurants and other foodservice establishments.

Attorneys representing organizations including the American Beverage Association, the National Restaurant Association and others, argued Feb. 20 in New York State Supreme Court that the Court should delay the ban’s March 12 effective date until such time as the Court rules on its legality. They also reiterated their position that cost of compliance would be prohibitively expensive and burdensome on foodservice operators, and that such costs should not be incurred before a ruling on the legality of the ban occurs.

“The costs of complying with this ban will be significant and having restaurateurs incur those costs before a final determination on this issue is made serves little purpose,” said Joan McGlockton, the NRA’s vice president of industry affairs and food policy.

The mandate, as passed, would prohibit restaurants, delis, stadiums and arenas, concession stands and food carts from selling sugar-sweetened beverages in containers above 16 ounces. Banned beverages include soda, sweetened iced tea, some smoothies and coffee drinks and lemonade.

During the arguments, however, representatives for the health department said the agency would enforce the regulation using a 1-ounce margin of error with respect to cups only. This means that restaurants would not be found in violation of the ban unless their cups hold more than 17 fluid ounces.

The health department also said it would not begin issuing fines for noncompliance during the first three months of the ban’s enforcement.

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