By Dean L. Jones, CPM
Eating habits are personal, but it is a good thing to have publicly shared health tips and regulations for increasing access to good eatable foods. That is essentially what the Mayor of New York is attempting by introducing regulation on the size of sugary drinks sold in the city. This is a radical change; consequently it is quite understandable that local merchants and beverage makers would take issue with such an unrivaled approach toward restricting how much a customer can buy. Nevertheless to have a longstanding civil rights group step in on the side of big business in this case is an act of duplicity and untrustworthiness.
The reason is that the obesity rate for black people living in New York City is much higher than the city’s average. Accordingly, it would be wise to implement support to correct poor eating habits. Low-income neighborhoods would be among the key beneficiaries of improved selling regulations that would limit the sale of super-size, calorie-laden beverages. It is the civic duty for public servants to look out for the health of their populace, so why would the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) so eagerly make themselves a friend of the court to support Coca-Cola to be able to continue selling oversized sugary soft drinks?
The logic for them taking time to apply their legal services in this matter can only be that Coca-Cola gives the N.A.A.C.P. a lot of money each year. So, it does not matter that the health of black folks is threatened due to drinking their high sugar-filled products, as long as the N.A.A.C.P. can get paid, the outcome of those who partake upon the drink is irrelevant. The Hispanic Federation also joined in on this friend of the court brief to support Coca-Cola, whereas another disenfranchised group can continue drinking their inflamed arteries away as well.
This very interesting battle will undoubtedly continue because in an unusually critical opinion, Justice Milton Tingling of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan called the proposed regulatory soft drink size limits arbitrary and capricious. This decision is really sad when all of the scientific evidence points to how consuming excessive processed sugar severely damages the heart, kidneys, and 75 other health vitals. People expect the government to intervene with useful regulations when it comes to prescription drugs. Well, processed sugar is moving on that same track and soon will be recognized as a drug mainly because it affects the brain just as drugs do. The Mayor of New York is advancing health concerns, and the future will reveal that his administration is in favor of people living better. Just as this subject of public issue will reveal how bad excessive sugar intake is, it will also show how the N.A.A.C.P. sold-out its constituency for the love of money.
Dean Jones, Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributes his view on health attributes of packaged foods & beverages.