New York’s Soda Ban Affects Fordham Food Services


Courtesy of Richard Drew/AP

Soda-loving members of the Fordham community may wish to change their drink of choice when traveling around New York City, where large helpings of soda will soon be a thing of the past.

As of March 12, 2013, restaurants and concession stands within the city limits will be required to restrict helpings of sugary drinks to 16 ounces per container.
The rules, which apply to any drink that contains over 25 calories per eight ounces, including many sodas and juices, will not be put into effect in supermarkets or convenience stores. Furthermore, it will not prevent consumers from purchasing multiple 16-ounce bottles of sugary drinks.
Like many other institutions, Fordham will have to make some changes to its food service in order to comply with the new regulations.
“As soon as the new regulation is printed and circulated by the NYC Health Department, we can then sort through the implications of the law to ensure full compliance prior to March 12, 2013,” Jeanne Molloy, Sodexo’s registered dietitian at Fordham University, said. “All drink sizes will be brought to full compliance.”
 Members of the Fordham student body are treating the new regulations with a rather skeptical attitude.
“Orange juice is a sugary drink, but it’s a healthy drink,” Vincent J. Pelizzi, GSB ’15, said, in describing a potential weakness of the soda ban.
In fact, drinks that are 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice are exempt from the ban, as are drinks that are at least 50 percent milk.
Students also weighed in on the controversy that the “soda ban,” as it is colloquially known, has induced over how much the government should be interfering in people’s private lives.
“Big sugary drinks like that, if people want to be healthy, they shouldn’t be having them,” Pelizzi said. “But I don’t think local government has the right to enforce that for us.”
Not everyone agreed that the government had overstepped its boundaries in this case.
“I understand people’s objection to it fundamentally, but I don’t think it’s that big of an infringement,” Christopher Pedro, FCRH ’15, said. “It does limit the size of a drink, but it doesn’t limit how many one could have. So someone could still buy the same amount of soda; they just need to buy it in separate servings.”
 He further insinuated that consumer buying habits would not likely change as a result of the ban.
“Most people want to buy one drink, and will buy that one drink,” Pedro said. “Most people say, ‘I want one soda,’ not, ‘I want 16 ounces of soda.’ So, therefore, if they reduce the size of it, I think for most people, they’re still only going to be buying one drink, albeit less of said drink.”
The soda regulations are not the first health-related venture that the Bloomberg government has attempted to tackle with regard to food service in New York City. In 2008, the city issued a policy that restricted artificial trans-fats in restaurant meals to 0.5 grams per serving. That same year, the city also began requiring that chain restaurants within the city limits post how many calories were in each of their menu items.
That does not necessarily mean the soda ban will be implemented successfully. Several interest groups have said that they will explore legal options with regards to challenging the ban in court.
According to a Reuters article published on June 4, however, arguments against the ban will face a difficult test against New York City’s power to regulate public health.
If the ban is successfully upheld and implemented, consequences could reach far beyond New York City. According to a U.S. News and World Report article published on  Sept. 14, “Experts say that if the ban is successful at curbing obesity, other cities and states could try to enact similar measures.”