| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 5 Soda makers and restaurants say
they will face daunting logistical hurdles such as needing to
retool manufacturing, change distribution systems and even
introduce new plastic cups if New York's ban on large-size sweet
drinks in food outlets survives a legal challenge.
The ban, the first of its kind in the nation, is due to take
effect in March and would prohibit sugary soft drinks larger
than 16 ounces (473 ml) from being sold in restaurants, movie
theaters and food carts while still permitting their sale in
stores that do not prepare food, such as convenience stores.
Last week lawyers for plaintiffs in the beverage and
restaurant industries asked the judge overseeing the case,
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich, to move up
oral arguments from January to an earlier date.
Some businesses will need as many as three months to
"retool" their operations if forced to comply with the
regulation, the lawyers said in a letter to Kornreich, who could
rule on whether to move up arguments at any time.
The city is not opposing the request, in part because the
plaintiffs have said they will seek an injunction to delay
implementation of the law if the litigation is not finished
"It's simply in everyone's interest to get this resolved
sooner rather than later," said Gabriel Taussig, a city
The ban presents a host of potential logistical challenges,
from altering factory machinery to changing distribution
systems, said Caroline Starke, a spokeswoman for the plaintiffs.
In some cases, like that of fast-food chain Subway, which
offers fountain drinks in a 21-ounce (621-ml) size, businesses
may be forced to manufacture entirely new sizes of plastic cups.
In other cases, like that of Honest Tea, products may not
currently be available in certain sizes. For example, a 500-ml
(16.9-oz) bottle of Honest Tea's Honey Green Tea is just a shade
more than 16 ounces.
That extra 0.9 ounce could pose a major problem for Honest
Tea and its parent company, The Coca-Cola Co., if the ban
"What we're hoping to avoid is prolonged uncertainty for the
affected businesses," Starke said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has promoted the ban as a way of
reducing obesity among city residents. The beverage and
restaurant industries have decried it as a restriction on
The lawsuit, filed in October, claims the
Bloomberg-appointed health board overstepped its authority in
passing the regulation without the city council's approval. It
also argues the ban is arbitrary, since it only affects certain
types of drinks and businesses.