Main | Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Starbucks Ponders NYC's Sugar Ban

The three month public comment period on Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban on "large sugared drinks" has commenced. And Starbucks is trying to figure out how, if at all, the pending law might affect them.
Officials in City Hall and in Seattle said they were unsure how those rules might affect the Starbucks family of syrupy, milkshake-style coffee drinks, catnip to thousands of caffeine-addicted New Yorkers who frequent the company’s 190 outlets in Manhattan. “It’s hard for us to give a definitive word on which of our beverages would be impacted by the proposal,” said Linda Mills, a Starbucks spokeswoman, although she said the company was confident that many of its drinks would fall outside the proposed ban. The Starbucks question — complicated by the varying amounts of ice, sugar and milk in each customized drink — is just one of the ambiguities facing the city as it begins a three-month public comment period on the proposed rules. On Tuesday, the Board of Health, which has final say over the rules, agreed to consider the proposal formally at its next meeting, in September.
Insiders believe that unless the mayor succumbs to growing pressure to withdraw his bill, his appointed heads at the Department of Health will rubber-stamp the measure. Most affected would be fast food outlets, movie theaters, and street vendors. Grocery and convenience stores such as 7-Eleven would be exempt.

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