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NYC Soda Sellers Get Grace Period Before Supersize Drink Fines Kick In Mar. 12; Hearing Next Week

Posted On: 1/17/2013

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TAGS: soda ban, large size soda ban, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on large-size sodas, New York City Board of Health, vending machine

NEW YORK CITY -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on large-size sodas will take effect in March, but businesses will still have a few months to conform to the new regulations before they're hit with fines.

City health department officials confirmed on Dec. 14 that the city will begin enforcing a 16-fl.oz. size limit on sugary drinks beginning March 12 as planned, but soda sellers who need more time to comply now will get a three-month reprieve from fines. Instead, violators would get notices for until June, after which they could face $200 fines.

The rule, passed by the New York City Board of Health last September, will prohibit restaurants, delis, concessions, food carts and other city venues from selling sweetened drinks in containers bigger than16 fl.oz. It would not extend to vending machines, convenience stores or supermarkets. Drinks that are more than half milk or 70% juice would be exempt, and the rule wouldn't apply to lower-calorie drinks like water or diet soda. | SEE STORY

The city's decision to hold off on fines for the first three months comes as soda makers, restaurateurs and other businesses are suing to try to block the unprecedented anti-obesity measure from taking effect. They say the rule oversteps the city Board of Health's authority. A hearing is set for next week.