City Hall, NY – Speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday announced he is championing legislation to establish water, milk or 100 percent juice as the default beverage options in children’s meals sold in New York City. This legislation will promote healthier choices for children, which is a priority for the Council, while giving parents the ability to choose what is best for their children.
“We know that healthy habits begin at an early age, which is why I am proudly advancing this legislation. We want our kids to have access to healthy choices, and the default beverage options under this bill supports that goal,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “The beverage industry understands how important it is to support parent’s decisions about what their young children eat and drink, and I am pleased to have the support of the American Beverage Association and its members The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo, among others, for this legislation. This is an example of how government and industry can work together to have impact.”
“America’s leading beverage companies fully support the thoughtful legislation being spearheaded by Speaker Corey Johnson. The beverage industry has long been committed to taking steps that support parents’ efforts to reduce sugar for their families. This type of action, which empowers parents to make the choices that are best for their children, is what they have told us they want. We look forward to working with Speaker Johnson to achieve passage of his legislation in New York City. We will also work with our customers across the country who are interested in voluntarily adopting this standard,” said Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association.
“Childhood obesity will stop being the norm when children are given meal options that are all healthy,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, the bill’s sponsor. “We are grateful for the American Beverage Association’s support for parents who want to reduce the sugar in their children’s diets. Thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson, who supported this bill as a Council Member last term and continues to be a leader on the issue, having secured this support.”
The Council Health Committee expects to hold hearings on this legislation, which is an enhanced version of a bill first introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos in 2014 and then reintroduced this summer, in the fall.
The legislation applies to all restaurants in New York City that receive a letter grade from the Department of Health, which is roughly 24,000 restaurants.