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Statement of Larry Cohen, MSW
Founder and Executive Director, Prevention Institute
“We are deeply disappointed by today’s ruling from the New York Court of Appeal’s that the New York City Department of Health does not have the authority to cap the sizes of sugary drinks sold in the businesses it oversees. The health authorities who are mandated to protect the public must have the power to regulate companies selling products that make us ill. This holds true whether the issue is cancer-causing tobacco, bacterially-contaminated beef or diabetes-causing sugary drinks.”
“Despite the court’s decision, it is clear that business as usual is over for the largest players in the food and beverage industry. Communities across the country are taking steps to reign in the excesses of companies that put profits over health. Every day there is news of a hospital or school that is kicking sugary drinks out of their vending machines, a city that wants to put an excise tax on soda to fund prevention or a state working to put warning labels on the beverages that are fueling the diabetes crisis, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. The conversation generated by New York City’s sugary drink cap – along with the many local efforts underway across the country – are shedding evermore light on industry’s aggressive marketing tactics and changing norms about what is acceptable to market to children and families. Big Soda’s high-powered legal teams are clapping each other on the back today, but their victory will prove short-lived as communities across the U.S. take concrete steps to limit the harm caused by their industry.”
Prevention Institute is an Oakland, California-based nonprofit research, policy and action center that works nationally to promote prevention, health and wellness by fostering community and policy change so that all people—especially those in low-income communities—live in healthy, safe environments.