New Yorkers for Beverage Choices Tops 100,000 Supporters

Coalition announces Liz Berman as chairperson

Liz Berman

NEW YORK -- New Yorkers for Beverage Choices said that more than 100,000 New Yorkers have joined the coalition in opposition to the Bloomberg Administration's proposed size restrictions on sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, juice drinks, teas, sports drinks and flavored waters. The coalition also named Liz Berman, president of Continental Food & Beverage Inc., chairperson of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices as the coalition continues its efforts to ensure that New Yorkers' voices are heard.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal would prohibit the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages above 16 ounces in restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums, food carts and other venues throughout the New York City area, but not grocery stores or convenience stores. The ban extends to any beverage--exclusive of milkshakes and alcoholic drinks--with more than 25 calories per eight ounces, including some sodas, coffees, teas, smoothies and lemonades.

(Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage of the proposed large-soda ban.)

"Though the deck has been stacked against us, New Yorkers will continue to voice their opposition to this arbitrary and ineffective ban," Berman said. "As chair of the coalition, I am proud to stand with the more than 100,000 New Yorkers and businesses that are committed to making it clear that we can decide what's best for ourselves and our families."

The New York City Board of Health is appointed by the mayor; therefore, the votes necessary to likely pass the ban are in place, the group said. Even so, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices is continuing to engage individuals and businesses throughout the city to voice their opposition to the proposed ban. While the proposal is likely to pass when it comes before the Board of Health for a vote in September, it won't pass with the support of New Yorkers, said the group. More than 1,562 businesses and 105,414 individual supporters have joined the coalition in just over seven weeks.

The public hearing on the ban was held at 1:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, a time when hard-working New Yorkers and small business owners are unable to attend and make their opinions heard, the group said. The Board of Health has not fulfilled its duty of listening to the interests of New York City residents. New Yorkers for Beverage Choices is continuing its efforts against the impending ban in order to give New Yorkers a platform for their well-deserved voice of opposition.

"As a small business owner, I understand the negative impact this ban will have on our local economy," added Berman. "Small businesses are the backbone of our city's economy and we must support, rather than limit, them as we continue to grow our economy and remain a city where individualism and freedom of expression are highly valued."

New Yorkers for Beverage Choices has been fighting for small business owners and New York residents that oppose the ban since the proposal was introduced, and will not abandon these efforts. By joining New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, New York City business owners and residents still have the opportunity to speak out against the proposed beverage ban and make their voices heard, it said.