The de Blasio administration is sour on legislation that would require chain restaurants to list products with added sugar because it could be difficult to enforce, a city official said Monday.
Kim Kessler, an assistant commissioner at the Department of Health, told a City Council hearing that federal law would make it hard to enforce a bill sponsored by Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) mandating warning icons on food items containing more than 12 grams of added sugar at the fast food joints.
Kessler pointed out that federal law mandates listing “total sugar” on menu items – not “added sugar.”
City Hall also isn’t sweet on a bill by Councilwoman Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn) requiring eateries to display informational posters about the risks of sugar and other carbs for diabetics.
“Because there is no one-size-fits-all dietary recommendation for all people with diabetes and pre-diabetes, crafting a poster that provides sufficiently tailored information on a complex topic could present challenges,” Kessler said.
Barron fired back, “We love challenges.”
Kessler was supportive of another bill by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) that would ban soda from automatically being served with kids’ meals.
“It sends a very strong message that sugary drinks have no place in the diet of children,” she said.
“… Sugary drinks are the largest single source of added sugar in our diets, and nearly half of added sugar consumed by children and teens comes from these beverages.”
Kallos’ bill would make water, milk or 100 percent fruit juice the “default beverage option” in all kids’ meals served at restaurants. Parents could still request soda or other sugary beverages when placing their order.
It would apply to all restaurants that serve kids’ meals.
Unlike former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s failed attempt to ban sales of large sodas at food outlets and movie theaters, it has the support of the American Beverage Association.