Thursday, April 07, 2011

Boston Mayor Bans Sugared Beverage Sales on City Property

Boston Mayor Tom Menino is taking a page out of NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the other nanny staters by canning sales of soda on city property.
Mayor Tom Menino issued an executive order to ban the sale of sugary drinks on Boston city property on Thursday.

The mayor’s office said Menino is issuing this order because of the link between sugary drinks and rising obesity rates and health care costs. The order sets science-based standards for what’s considered a healthy beverage and what can be sold or served on City property, according to a city press release.

The policy applies to cafeterias, vending machines, concession stands, and beverages served at meetings, City-run programs, and events where food is purchased with City dollars.

Back in 2004, Menino banned soda and junk food from being sold in public school vending machines, and now he’s taking his battle city-wide.
I can't wait until the next city budget comes through and the loss of revenue requires either spending cuts or tax hikes to cover the lost revenue from contracts that enable beverage makers to sell soda on city property.

Moreover, there's a question as to just how far this policy extends - does this mean that vendors will be unable to sell soda on city streets or roadways from vending carts or trucks?

To be clear, this is what Menino intends:
City buildings and departments have a six-month grace period before they’ll be required to phase out the sale of so-called “red” beverages, or those loaded with sugar, such as non-diet sodas, pre-sweetened ice teas, refrigerated coffee drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks with added sugar and sports drinks. The order allows for the sale of “yellow” beverages such as diet sodas, diet iced teas, 100 percent juices, low-calorie sports drinks, low-sugar sweetened beverages, sweetened soymilk and flavored, sweetened milk. “Green” beverages, such as bottled water, flavored and unflavored seltzer water, low-fat milk, and unsweetened soymilk can continue to be sold. The promotion of “red” beverages on City property through sponsorship agreements with City departments, including banners and advertising panels on vending machines, will be prohibited.
Pretty much, unless you're selling bottled water or diet soda, you're going to have to find another source of revenue if you're one of those vendors.

Obesity didn't start with soda and sugared beverages. It got a whole lot worse as people chose to live a sedentary lifestyle where they don't exercise or take care of themselves, all while supersizing their food intake by choice and ignoring proper portion control to manage their weight.

Now, Menino is going to harm small businesses, including distributors, bottlers, and vendors who sell these beverages to a public that wants them because he thinks that soda is the root of the obesity epidemic.

Just as a New York City Councilman entered a bill to eliminate the sales of toys with Happy Meals yesterday turned out to be a poster child for obesity himself (and whose wife complained about his eating habits), that's nanny-staters for you.
Nobody seems to like City Councilman's Leroy Comrie's proposed Happy Meal regulations. On Tuesday when Comrie announced the proposed law—which aims to set "nutrition standards for distributing incentive items aimed at children,"—he acknowledged that, weighing in at 335 pounds himself, he was hardly a model of healthy eating (in fact that was part of his point). So no surprise that both the Post (Councilman, Heal Thyself) and the News (City Councilman Leroy Comrie's bill to ban toys in Happy Meals with over 500 calories is fat-headed) today ran editorials decrying the plan as a dud from a self-hating, publicity-hungry tub of lard. And not happy to stop there, the Post went to the next level and got Comrie's weight-watching, yoga-doing wife Marcia on the record to complain about her rotund husband's eating habits.
In the Councilman's case, he chose to eat unhealthy food options - and his weight (and wife) suffered for it.

When presented with healthy options, he not only took them, but ate up whatever else he could find. You can't simply excuse that because there are only fast food options available. Even fast food restaurants have healthier food options - but Comrie chose to ignore them and ate what he wanted. That's on him.

The same goes with soda. There's nothing wrong with soda, if you have a healthy lifestyle and live by a simply motto - moderation.

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