Pol discusses impact of proposed drink ban with small biz
by Andrew Pavia
Jul 25, 2012 | 691 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras teamed up with New Yorkers for Beverage Choices for a walking tour in her district to discuss the proposed ban on 16-ounce sugar-sweetened beverages with business owners who would be affected by the ban.

“The good intentions may be there, but I think we need to look at the full impact of this and the full impact is that it just doesn't make sense,” said Ferreras.

The ban would prohibit all establishments that are required to have a Department of Health letter rating from the city, including restaurants, sports venues, movie theaters, and food trucks.

Eliot Hoff, senior director in APCO Worldwide's New York office, spoke about the impact of the ban on the community.

Huff is afraid that New Yorkers will no longer be able to “go out to a pizzeria and get a pie and a liter and share among your kids.”

“You wont be able to do that anymore,” he said.

Bringing up the opposition's perspective, Huff said that there are negatives to purchasing a drink for each of your children instead of buying something to share.

“They're probably drinking more and it's more expensive,” he said. “A lot of people can't afford to do that.”

“I feel very strongly that all of us New Yorkers have the right to choose what size beverage to buy,” said Elizabeth Berman, president of Continental Food and Beverage.

Berman's father established their food and beverage company over 40 years ago after immigrating from Cuba. With strong ties to the community, she spoke about the citizens that will be affected by the ban.

“Not only are we concerned about the jobs, we're also concerned about the consumer from a lower-income family that relies on larger sizes because its more economical and more affordable for them,” she said.

Ferreras spoke with Miguel Reyes, owner of Reyes Grocery Store, during the tour to discuss how the ban will personally affect him. After disagreeing with the principles of the ban, Reyes said that his store would not be prohibited from selling 16-ounce drinks with sugar in them because he does not need a letter grade.

This is another issue that New Yorkers who oppose this ban are focusing on. Grocery stores like Reyes' can sell the banned items next door to a restaurant with a letter grade that isn't allowed to.

When asked how he felt competing with a restaurant next door who would be affected by the ban, he said that he was not happy about taking business away from another small business but that he would sell what the customer wants, through translation by Ferreras.

After discussing how local businesses have a history of helping each other, the councilwoman said that she fears the ban may change that. “I think this will create a divide that has not organically happened,” she said.

“What we would like to do is focus on education and focus choices,” Hoff added, “teaching people about options.”
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