Bloomberg takes drink ban fight to New York's top court

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 October, 2013, 8:48pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 October, 2013, 9:03pm

New York's top court has agreed to hear mayor Michael Bloomberg's appeal against the striking down of a ban on large sugary drinks in New York city, setting up the final showdown over one of the outgoing mayor's most controversial policies.

The state Court of Appeals did not give reasons why it had agreed to hear the appeal.

The law would have barred restaurants, cinemas, food carts and other businesses regulated by the city's health department from selling sugary beverages larger than 473 millilitres. In March, just one day before it was to take effect, a state judge found the policy to be illegal.

A mid-level state appeal court agreed in July that the city's health board had exceeded its authority in approving the regulation. It also noted that loopholes would have exempted grocery and convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven, known for its 1.9 litre Big Gulp, as well as high-calorie milkshakes and coffee drinks, such as Starbucks frappuccinos.

The ruling was a victory for companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple, which had argued the law would do little to address obesity while imposing added costs.

Bloomberg said on Thursday he expected the top court to overturn the lower-court rulings.

A spokesman for the American Beverage Association, the lead plaintiff in the case, said the group looked forward to a final decision on the ban.