- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City has told a court it plans to appeal a judge’s decision blocking a first-of-its-kind ban on big sugary drinks.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg had made the city’s plans clear, but a formal notice was filed Tuesday.

A Manhattan judge said Monday that the rule was arbitrary and outside city health regulators’ purview.

It bars eateries from selling non-diet soda and some other sugary beverages in portions bigger than 16 ounces.

Bloomberg calls the ruling a “temporary setback.” He says the city is confident it will win an appeal.

The American Beverage Association and other opponents say the judge’s ruling is strong.

City officials point to the city’s rising obesity rate and studies tying sugary drinks to weight gain. Opponents call the rule unfair and wrong-headed.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Eateries from corner delis to movie concession stands have gotten a last-minute reprieve from the nation’s first ban on big sugary drinks. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg is urging them to shrink their cups and bottles, anyway.

Hours after a judge struck down the 16-ounce size limit for sodas and some other sweet drinks as arbitrary and outside city health regulators’ purview, Bloomberg defended it as a groundbreaking anti-obesity effort and all but challenged businesses to comply out of concern for their customers.

“If you know what you’re doing is harmful to people’s health, common sense says if you care, you might want to stop doing that,” he said.

The city plans to appeal.

“Despite yesterday’s temporary setback, I don’t think there’s any doubt that momentum is moving in our direction,” Bloomberg said Tuesday during a visit to a Manhattan diner that is now voluntarily complying with the policy, ditching 20-ounce bottles of soda and reserving 24-ounce to-go cups for iced coffee.

“We are confident that we will win that (appeal), but while the legal case plays out, the conversation we started about the dangers of the portion sizes of sugary drinks has prompted many people … to take action,” he said.

It was a sign of how aggressively Bloomberg sees the city’s role in pushing New Yorkers to improve their health habits and nudging other cities to do likewise. But it remains to be seen whether the city that was first to compel chain restaurants to post calorie counts and bar artificial trans fats in restaurant food will ultimately prevail in capping soda portions.

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