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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Are You Dying For Soda?

New York City Mayor Bloomberg plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, mobile food carts, movie theaters and delis to fight obesity.

Michael M. Grynbaus reports, "The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March."

 The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores. (Michael M. Grynbaum, "New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks," The New York Times, May 30 2012)

A spokesman for the New York City Beverage Association, an arm of the soda industry’s national trade group, criticized the city’s proposal on Wednesday. The industry has clashed repeatedly with the city’s health department, saying it has unfairly singled out soda; industry groups have bought subway advertisements promoting their cause.

In New York City, where more than half of adults are obese or overweight, Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner, blames sweetened drinks for up to half of the increase in city obesity rates over the last 30 years. About a third of New Yorkers drink one or more sugary drinks a day, according to the city. Dr. Farley said the city had seen higher obesity rates in neighborhoods where soda consumption was more common.

What the Heck?

The government wants to dictate to businesses what size portions of a product to sell? They also wish to discriminate and tell these businesses what products are allowed to be sold in larger portions? Isn't this proposed law tailored and specifically directed towards one group judged by outdated weight tables that categorize the "obese" people? It clearly discriminates -- private businesses and large or thirsty people lose money and convenience.

Try to understand this part of the proposal: At fast-food chains, where sodas are often dispersed at self-serve fountains, restaurants would be required to hand out cup sizes of 16 ounces or less, regardless of whether a customer opts for a diet drink. But free refills — and additional drink purchases — would be allowed. Duh, buy two 16 ounce drinks to skirt the law, right?      

Here is Bloomberg's answer:“Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce.” I guess "sipping and sharing" a large drink with kids or a date just doesn't sit well with the mayor.

He also said he foresaw no adverse effect on local businesses, and he suggested that restaurants could simply charge more for smaller drinks if their sales were to drop. Charge the consumer more -- great!
Why not fill the cups with ice and very little soda and let businesses make whopping profits while making the pissed off, poor consumers lose even more weight? 

In recent years, soda has emerged as a battleground in efforts to counter obesity. Across the nation, some school districts have banned the sale of soda in schools, and some cities have banned the sale of soda in public buildings. I can understand these restrictions in public schools and public buildings, but in the private sector?  

I mean, what's next? Ban the Big Boy? Wipe out the Whopper? Slay the Super Size? Make us all order children's portions? I don't get it. You know if you're fat, and you know how you got that way. Just because someone bans the size of large portions will not change the minds or the eating habits of the chunky. Why not make those who want large sodas do three or four laps around Micky D's before taking their money? Or, why not make every customer who wants a large soda first climb on the scales and meet weight requirements proving he or she is not officially "obese"?

And speaking of food and large portions, how about the grocery stores? Let's rip all oversize food containers off the shelves and limit the number of "fatty" or "sugary" items a shopper can purchase in 24 hours.

That would work well, wouldn't it? And, while you're at it, mayor, cut out food stamps to all those fat-ass, lazy welfare people. We all know they're an obese bunch, right?

I think people are going to get their ounces no matter the law. Prohibit the "biggy" portion and inconvenience those who have a legitimate reason to buy the larger size. Dictate the portion of an approved product a business can sell with idiotic government controls. Put the inevitable rise in cost on all the consumers. Control the fat, disgusting piggies with some unenforceable law.

Hey... maybe a person who orders a large drink is sipping and drinking one large soda throughout the entire day. Maybe some of these people are in tremendous shape and are simply large individuals, requiring more liquid to hydrate (Ever watch NFL football?) Maybe others are buying a large container to serve many other people more economically. Maybe people don't want to eat at all, just to drink one big sugary drink. Maybe some are aspiring Santa Claus stand ins looking for a winter job.

Or, maybe, these soda pop gluttons are just dying to wrap their fat lips around a Double Gulp and order a BK Veggie Burger. Who is going to stop them from getting their wants? And who thinks this ban will actually work to curb obesity?

This kind of control makes me want to go to New York City after the mayor's ban takes place, drop into the nearest convenience store, buy a six pack of Colt 45 forties, and engage in a healthy, sudsy game of "Edward Forty Hands."  

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