Two weeks from today, Mayor Bloomberg’s citywide ban on the sale of soda pop beverages above the 16 oz. size will take full effect. Once that occurs, all establishments regulated by the City’s Health Department are expected to toss their fizzy beverages into the trash. Expect rioting from the New Yorkers for Beverage Choices (or whoever else is still morally opposed to this infringement of our civil drinking liberties).
However, there is a legislative linchpin in this ban that exempts hundreds of commercial businesses from soda pop regulation: if a grocery store, supermarket or bodega makes less than 50 percent of its sale from processed foods, that enterprise is under the oversight of New York State’s Department of Agriculture, not the City.
In essence, this loophole will leave New Yorkers with the ability to walk right into, say, Gristede’s and buy all of the 32 oz.’s of soda they wanted but the inability to do the same at any local pizzeria.
With that being said, the entire efficacy of the law (as well as the anti-ban advocates’ immense frustration) comes into question. What’s the point of having a half-ass soda ban? If this exemption exists, we can’t even really call it a ‘soda ban’ – it’s more like a ‘soda inconvenience,’ if anything, right?
Well, Mr. Bloomberg has apparently asked himself these questions, too. So, yesterday, he told Albany to jump on his banning bandwagon in an attempt to ensure that every 32 oz. in the State goes unturned.
“Keep in mind we’re trying to save the lives of these kids, particularly kids…The state should do exactly the same thing in stores,” the Mayor told reporters.
According to the Post, Governor Cuomo’s office is busy putting together a response to Mr. Bloomberg’s demand. It’s going to be difficult to convince the entire state to give up larger-than-life soda, especially with a state government that just recently had to deal with New York City’s nonsense re: the teacher evaluations deal.
Let’s call it even and compromise on a statewide styrofoam ban, okay?