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National Restaurant Association - Cambridge mayor seeks ways to reduce serving size of soda, sugary beverages

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Cambridge mayor seeks ways to reduce serving size of soda, sugary beverages

Following Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to ban soda and other sweetened drinks above 16 ounces at foodservice establishments throughout New York City, Cambridge, Mass. Mayor Henrietta Davis has asked her health officials to explore ways of decreasing the consumption of sugary beverages in that city.

At a Cambridge City Council meeting June 18, Davis introduced a policy order asking the Cambridge Public Health Department for recommendations on limiting the size of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages served in restaurants.

Davis said she is pushing for a size limit on the drinks because she is concerned about health risks associated with the consumption of large amounts of soda.

"The target of this effort is supersized and oversized sugary drinks, especially when children are the primary consumers," Davis said in a prepared statement. "The hope is that this policy order gets the ball rolling on limiting the amount of soda consumed by children and adults in our community."

During the meeting, the City Council referred Davis' policy order to the Council's Committee on Community Health.

According to one of Davis' aides, no date has been set for the implementation of a ban.

New York City's Board of Health unanimously advanced Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban during its June 12 public hearing. The measure has now entered into a 90-day public comment period. A public hearing, where testimony will be heard, will be held July 24, and the final vote on whether to enact the ban or not is scheduled for Sept. 13.

If enacted, New York's ban would prohibit the sale of sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces at restaurants, delis, concessions at movie theaters and stadiums, food carts and other venues throughout the city. Soda, energy drinks, some coffee beverages and sweetened iced tea would be subject to the ban, but diet soda, some fruit juices, dairy based drinks and alcoholic beverages would not.

The National Restaurant Association said it strongly opposes Mayor Bloomberg's ban and stressed it would work to educate decision-makers on just how problematic it would be for restaurant operators.

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