New York City Big Gulp fans can breathe easily for a little while longer: a Manhattan judge has struck down mayor Michael Bloomberg's widely vaunted and controversial ban on soda sizes to a maximum of 16 ounces, in an effort to fight the city's obesity problem.
The ban was set to go into effect on March 12 when New York judge Milton Tingling blocked the public health measure, writes AFP, calling it "arbitrary and capricious" — and noting that he intended to block the soda ban "permanently."
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Tingling argued that numerous loopholes to the measure existed, as customers would still be able to refill sodas at restaurants, and grocery stores would still be allowed to sell large sized sugary beverages, added AFP.
Bloomberg insisted that his administration in fact did possess the authority to impose the ban, wrote the Guardian, and intends to lodge an appeal against Tingling's decision.
America's soft drink industry was vehemently opposed to the ban, and sued in October 2012 to stop the measure in conjunction with New York restaurant and business groups, arguing the Board of Health lacked the authority to pass the measure.
“The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban," said the American Beverage Association of Tingling's ruling, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
"With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City.”