New Yorkers have narrowly escaped Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to ban larger soda sizes. On Monday, a judge in Manhattan struck down a rule capping soda sizes in an effort that Bloomberg framed as one that couple curb stubbornly high obesity rates in communities of color. New Yorkers, after all, can and should be allowed to do whatever they want (according to the ads that ran agains the move). The same is apparently also true in Mississippi, where lawmakers there have passed a law to never let any high minded, health conscious politician tell you how much soda you’re allowed to drink.
From NPR’s Morning Edition:
A bill now on the governor’s desk would bar counties and towns from enacting rules that require calorie counts to be posted, that cap portion sizes, or that keep toys out of kids’ meals. “The Anti-Bloomberg Bill” garnered wide bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature in a state where one in three adults is obese, the highest rate in the nation.
The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican. It was the subject of intense lobbying by groups including the restaurant association, the small business and beverage group, and the chicken farmers’ lobby.
The soda ban was an imperfect and unpopular way to address a very real problem: skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes in poor black and Latino communities. Health in any major city is often a racializied issue, and this was certainly a racialized solution; no one mentioned banning grande caramel frappaccinos at Starbucks. Legislative back-and-forths like this would almost be funny if there weren’t real lives at stake.