City Councilman Proposes Warning for Sugary Drinks at NYC Chains; Meets Pushback - The Jewish Voice
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Friday, January 27, 2023

City Councilman Proposes Warning for Sugary Drinks at NYC Chains; Meets Pushback

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By:  Serach Nissim

The food police may be coming to New York City.

City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers (D-Manhattan) has made a bold proposal to require fast food chains to “warn” customers about extra sugar content.  As reported by the NY Post, food-industry chains, with more than 15 locations in the five boroughs of NY, would be required to add sugar-content warnings to menus for items including fountain sodas, smoothies, coffee drinks and even salads.  If the legislation is passed, joints which would be on the hook include Starbucks, Subway, Dunkin’, Burger King and McDonald’s. “We have to start taking clear measures to make sure that New Yorkers are informed,” Powers told The Post. “Whether it’s calorie counts, restaurant grades or sodium counts, giving New Yorkers better information … has a positive impact on the decisions they make.”

The proposal has been egged on by self-proclaimed “health advocates”. Nutritional and environmental “scientists” are proposing banning sugary delights unless they include a warning.  Items named include the Boston Kreme doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts, or unhealthful choices like the Maine lobster au poivre at LeCoucou. Of course, restaurants are not keen on the proposals and argue that the city is meddling with their business and targeting best sellers—which consumers want.  Consumers are also not thrilled about more warnings, saying they know some foods are not healthy but that it’s their choice.  They also say, the warnings will make menus harder to read.  Opponents also argue that new restrictions are the last thing struggling restaurants need right now.

In 2019, the Big Apple similarly passed a ban on fancy goose-liver delicacies.  Foie gras, a type of French pate, is made of fattened livers of force-fed ducks or geese.  Animal rights activists behind the ban call the use of tubes to force feed the animals inhumane, saying its cruelty. Per the Post, the ban which is due to take effect in November, is being challenged with a recent lawsuit filed by two upstate farms, La Belle and Hudson Valley Foie Gras.  The farms say they will be forced to lay off hundreds of workers if the ban goes into effect, as per court filings.

“Of course, everybody’s very curious about what’s going to happen, especially the chefs,” said Marco Moreira, executive chef and owner of French restaurant Tocqueville by Union Square. “We’re hoping this is going to be reversed. We have a few months still.” He added, “We’re working on a new menu and we’re planning to have foie gras on the menu, as we always have. We’re not slowing down any time soon for sure.”

The city had also enforced warning labels for nutritional content over a decade ago, when the Bloomberg administration forced labels indicating calorie counts and salt content onto chain eateries. Also, menus already advise pregnant women not to drink alcohol, per the surgeon general warning. There are also ever-present warnings that “consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of food borne illness.”

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