It’s no secret that the U.S. is fighting a war against obesity. While the portion cap on serving giant sodas in New York City may not be the only solution required, the passage of the ban, by the City’s Department of Health, in September of last year, is a much needed step in the right direction.
The ban, due to become enforced on the 12th March 2013, stipulates that most restaurants and food outlets will no longer be legally allowed to serve non-alcoholic, sugar-sweetened sodas in cups larger than 16 oz. Although some stores that are regulated by the State, rather than the City, are exempt from the ban, those establishments affected will be subject to a $200 fine for each infringement. There is due to be a three month transition period, from March to June 2013, where violators will be warned, and not fined, regarding transgressions. From June, however, the ban, and subsequent fine, is to be implemented city-wide.
Soda companies have been increasing the size of their beverage holders disproportionately over the last fifty years or more. In the 1950s, Coca-Cola advertised that a 16 oz cup of soda was large enough to serve three people, given that it contains around 50 grams of sugar and over 200 calories; now it serves one. The ban simply gives credence to the argument that soda companies are acting against the health interests of the American public at large.
While the American Beverage Association intends to fight the City of New York in Court, to block the implementation of the ban, it seems, for now at least, that the portion cap is a small, but significant, victory in the war on obesity in the United States. It’s a gamble of blackjack to see if it will work out towards a brighter future.