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New York City to require warning labels for sugary foods and drinks in chain restaurants

Chain restaurants and coffee shops will have to post warning messages about any drinks that contain more than 50 grams of sugar.
New York Sugar Warning
Posted at 8:24 PM, Apr 25, 2024

New York City residents may soon see warning labels next to sugary foods and drinks in chain restaurants and coffee shops, under a law set to go into effect later this year.

The rule requires food businesses with 15 storefronts or more to post a warning icon — a black and white spoon loaded with sugar — next to menu items containing at least 50 grams of added sugar.

Businesses will also have to post the following written label to accompany the logo: “Warning: indicates that the added sugar content of this item is higher than the total daily recommended limit of added sugar for a 2,000 calorie diet (50g). Eating too many added sugars can contribute to type 2 diabetes and weight gain.”

The city's health department posted its proposed rule language last week and set a public hearing for late May. City officials and Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, approved the law last year. The rule is scheduled to go into effect June 19 for prepackaged food items and Dec. 1 for other items.

Asked about the policy in a 1010 WINS radio interview Thursday, Adams said, “We have an obligation and responsibility as a city, not only to react to the healthcare crisis, but to be proactive to prevent some of the healthcare issues. Sugar is one of the leading causes of health-related items and issues and diseases.”

“I say over and over again in my personal journey of health, “Food is medicine,” said Adams, a self-styled healthy eater who has claimed to be vegan but admitted he sometimes eats fish.

The incoming rule isn't a New York City mayor's first foray into public health policy.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg got artificial trans fat banned from chain restaurants and required chains to post calorie counts on menus. He also banned smoking indoors at restaurants and bars. Bill de Blasio, the mayor before Adams, pushed a rule to notify customers of high sodium in foods.

Critics of such regulations have long argued that officials are turning the city into a “nanny state.”

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