NYC Soda Ban: Starbucks Says They Will Defy Bloomberg Order; Will Mayor Shut Them Down?

Bloomberg
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I-N.Y.C., speaks at his State of the City address in Brooklyn, N.Y. Reuters

New York City's new ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces goes into effect Tuesday. People in the Big Apple will have to say goodbye to two-liter sodas delivered with their pizzas, pitchers of drinks at the diner and high-calorie, high-sugar blended coffee drinks. Although, it looks like Mayor Michael Bloomberg will have some high-profile opposition.

Officials at the Seattle-based Starbucks coffee chain told NBC News that they would "not be making any immediate changes" to their menus in the Big Apple. The company isn't necessarily doing it to spite the mayor's campaign, but instead because they believe that under the very complex guidelines of the ban, Starbucks' beverages that are higher than the 16 ounce limit do not fall under Bloomberg's definition of "sugary."

The chain is arguing that while many of their "venti," or large-size mixed coffee drinks do carry quite a bit of sugar and calories, the dairy content of the drinks may reach the 50 percent required for a beverage to stay legal under the city's new guidelines. As such, they plan to continue serving most of their beverage line. They also note that establishments have a three-month grace period to avoid the $200 fines for violating the ordinance.

Additionally, supermarkets and some mini-marts fall outside the bounds of Bloomberg's new law. Therefore, customers may not be able to order a two-liter bottle of Cola at the local pizza pub, but the ability to buy a cart full of big bottles at the grocery store is OK.

Mayor Bloomberg is instituting this new law to help fight obesity and health concerns of citizens. Many pro-business nonprofits like the American Beverage Association have filed suit against City Hall in hopes of reversing the ban.

Public service ads from anti-ban groups have been popping up throughout the city. Recently, a beverage truck was spotted driving the streets of Coney Island had the image of the Statue of Liberty on the back of it, with Lady Liberty clutching a take-out soda cup instead of a torch. The words: "Don't Let Bureaucrats Tell You What Size Beverage To Buy" were written next to the image.

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