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NY mayor to ban 'super-sized' fizzy drinks in obesity war

New York is aiming to become the first city in the United States to ban the sale of large fizzy or sugary drinks under a plan to address its growing obesity crisis, writes Mark hughes.

Michael Bloomberg, the city's mayor, wants to outlaw the sale of sweetened drinks larger than 16 fluid ounces (about 475ml) in about 20,000 public venues.

Supermarkets and grocery shops would be exempt from the ban, as would diet versions of soft drinks, dairy drinks and alcoholic beverages or juices.

The idea is to end the era of "supersize" bottles.

But the plan is likely to be devastating for fast food outlets. After the proposal was announced yesterday it was severely criticised by the world's largest fast food outlet, McDonald's. A spokesman for the company called the ban "narrowly focused and misguided".

Under the new proposals, McDonald's would no longer sell fizzy drinks in anything larger than what is currently their 'small' size. A large is 32fl oz -- twice the size of the new legal limit.

Mr Bloomberg's proposal could take effect as soon as March. His proposal requires the backing of the New York City Board of Health. But that is considered a formality given that Mr Bloomberg appointed every member of the board.

However, his campaigning has attracted criticism for infringing on personal freedoms. Yesterday the New York City Beverage Association said: "It's time for serious health professionals to seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent