Health Law

NAACP sides with soft-drink industry in challenge to NY ban on large sugary sodas

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Does New York’s ban on the sale of large sugary soft drinks harm minorities? The answer is yes, according to an amicus brief by the New York chapter of the NAACP.

The brief argues that the planned ban would hurt minority-owned small businesses and reduce “freedom of choice in low-income communities,” report the New York Times, the Associated Press and CNN.

The small businesses wouldn’t be able to compete with supermarkets and convenience stores such as 7-11 that are exempt from the ban, the brief argues. Those larger stores aren’t subject to the city health board regulations banning the large drink sales because they are regulated by the state.

The soft drink regulations, scheduled to take effect on March 12, are being challenged in a suit filed by the American Beverage Association. The NAACP joined with the Hispanic Federation to file the amicus brief. The New York Times story raises questions about the groups’ links to the beverage industry.

“The NAACP has close ties to big soft-drink companies, particularly Coca-Cola, whose longtime Atlanta law firm, King & Spalding, wrote the amicus brief,” the Times says. Also, Coca-Cola has donated tens of thousands of dollars to a health program developed by the NAACP. And the former president of the Hispanic Federation, Lillian Rodríguez López, was recently hired by Coca-Cola.

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