by Marion Nestle
Apr 30 2011

Soda industry vs. NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban

Today’s New York Times carries a piece by Robert Pear on soda industry opposition to NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the use of food stamp (SNAP) benefits to buy sugary drinks.

My first-Sunday monthly column for the San Francisco Chronicle is on precisely the same topic.  I will post it tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s what the Times says about how the soda industry is organizing opposition:

While the American Beverage Association has led the opposition, the fight demonstrates how various parts of the food industry have united to thwart the mayor’s proposal. Beverage industry lobbyists have worked with the Snack Food Association, the National Confectioners Association, which represents candy companies, the Food Marketing Institute, which represents 26,000 retail food stores, as well as antihunger groups like the Food Research and Action Center and Feeding America.

But here’s how the strategies play out in practice:

Eighteen members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently urged the Obama administration to reject New York’s proposal. The plan is unfair to food stamp recipients because it treats them differently from other customers, they said in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

While Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are among the largest contributors to the nonpartisan Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a research and education institute, caucus members say their positions are not influenced by such contributions.

See my Food Matters column tomorrow for how I view all this.

  • One sided

    Why no counterpoint in the article? No opinion from anyone on food stamps themselves, no opinion from a public health advocate. Hmmm…

  • The way this is framed makes it seem like a fight between big food and public service.

    Where are the real people in all of this?

    As noted before, soda should be a restricted food before a ban, in all but name, is imposed on people being able to purchase it with their assistance money.

    Too much soda is not good for health and there should be official restrictions on it. Until then, people should be free to make their own choices, with the help of trusted advice.

  • Linda Duffy

    Since when is soda a FOOD? Of course, most of what passes for food in stores isn’t actually food, but I think it is pretty clear that soda is not necessary for human nutrition.

    If they are FOOD STAMPS they should only be valid for food items. I am all for going back to the old commodities boxes.

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