A judge yesterday struck down New York City's pioneering ban on big sugary drinks only hours ahead of its taking effect, in a setback to the health initiative of mayor Michael Bloomberg.
According to State Supreme Court justice Milton Tingling, the 16-ounce limit on sodas and other sweet drinks had limited application to only some sugary beverages and some places where they were sold.
In a 36-page ruling, which went into the scope of power that should be afforded an administrative board for regulations, Tingling wrote, "The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule."
The ruling comes as a victory for the beverage industry, restaurants and other business groups that had maintained that the rule was unfair and wrong-headed.
Further, the judge said the Bloomberg-appointed board of health intruded into the City Council's authority with the imposition of the rule, citing partly a case from the 1980s that looked into state public health council's authority to regulate smoking in public places.
The city has vowed to appeal against the ruling by New York state's trial-level court.