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Hispanic Federation Fights New York City Soda Ban

The Hispanic Federation and the New York Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are fighting the New York City soda ban.

According to CNN, the two groups filed a joint brief in support of the American Beverage Association’s lawsuit against the city. The suit contests:

“New York's unelected Board of Health overstepped its power in approving the ban the sale of sugary drinks bigger than16 ounces in certain city venues.”

The two groups insist that the city’s ban will hurt small, minority business owners, versus their large competitors like 7-Eleven. The national chain 7-Eleven is regulated by the state, not the city.

Their stance is interesting. Hispanics and blacks are among the main groups the soda ban seeks to help.

The mayor's office reiterated its commitment to the ban on Wednesday, citing the prevalence of obesity among minorities as one of the very reasons why the ban is needed.

In the U.S. soda consumption is more common among nonwhites than whites. There are higher rates of obesity among blacks and Hispanics. And for first-generation Americans coming from Mexico, their likelihood to drink soda may even be higher. Mexico leads the world in soft drink consumption. The average per capita consumption of soda in Mexico is 43 gallons a year

The New York Times showed the close ties between the NAACP and large soft drink companies:

The NAACP has close ties to big soft-drink companies, particularly Coca-Cola, whose longtime Atlanta law firm, King & Spalding, wrote the amicus brief filed by the civil rights group in support of a lawsuit… Coca-Cola has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to a health education program, Project HELP, developed by the NAACP. The brief describes that program, but not the financial contributions of the beverage company.

The New York soda ban, set to take place in May, restricts the sale of any cup or bottle of a sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces. The ban would affect restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and food carts.