NEW ZEALAND obesity experts are dismayed that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempts to ban large sugary soft drinks in restaurants has failed.
The law would have limited the size of soft drinks sold at restaurants, cinemas and other food service establishments to just under 500ml, an amount much less than the normal large and super-large sizes sold in New Zealand.
A large soft drink at McDonald’s in New Zealand is 651ml, while a Mega drink at Wendy’s is 1200ml.
Fight the Obesity Epidemic spokeswoman Dr Robyn Toomath said it was a shame that the mayor’s bid to help slow the growth of New Yorkers’ waistlines had been stopped.
“Nobody believed by itself this would make a significant difference, but it was getting things under way … It set the direction that there are opportunities for regulation that will make a difference. I hope he fights back,” she told APNZ.
Bloomberg’s law was dismissed by the New York Supreme Court the day before it was to come into force.
The law was fought by a coalition of unions and industry associations, including those representing McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.
Boyd Swinburn, the University of Auckland’s professor of population nutrition and global health, said the court battle’s significance was in the power play it represented between government and industry, “the power politics between public health versus private profit”.
“It does show the enormous power of the food industry. It seems to be marching from victory to victory around the world, including New Zealand.”