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In a contentious radio interview today, former New York Mayor Ed Koch expressed support for suggestions by some members of the city’s Board of Health to ban large tubs of popcorn and big cups of milk-containing beverages.
Those proposed bans were reportedly discussed during a meeting earlier this month of NYC’s 11-member health board at which current Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed embargo on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces was approved.
Koch was speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.
The former mayor said he strongly backed Bloomberg’s soda ban.
“I also supported his proposal which he offered to the state legislature earlier to tax the beverages that exceed that amount (of 16 ounces),” he added.
Koch said Bloomberg was acting out of concern for the health of children.
“In this case, all the figures show that obesity and increases in weight in children is happening every single year. And it’s dangerous. It’s causing diabetes, which can destroy the life of a child,” he stated.
Klein asked Koch about the reported proposed bans of other items.
NYC Board of Health member Bruce Vladeck, for example, questioned why large tubs of popcorn were not included in Bloomberg’s soda ban, according to the New York Daily News.
Another board member, Dr. Joel Forman, reportedly pointed out that even 100 percent juice and milk-containing beverages such as milkshakes have large amounts of calories and should not be excluded.
Asked if he would support the ban on large tubs of popcorn or large milkshakes, Koch replied, “In the abstract, yes.”
He continued: “It would depend upon what they are proposing. There’s something wrong with a system where you go to a movie which costs $12. And I see on the menu inside that if you buy the large soda and you buy the large popcorn and I don’t know what else it’s a bargain at $13. It’s ridiculous.”
Klein challenged Koch: “Where does it end? I mean, why not ban people from crossing the streets because it can be dangerous. Why not ban the sun because of the UV rays. I mean, we can learn a lot from the ladies of Afghanistan. Why not have everybody in New York City walk around in a full burqa because the sun can harm them? … If it starts with the banning of food, it’s a slippery slope to becoming a nanny state.”
Koch retorted: “Well, I don’t agree with you with all of that. That relates to regulation. If you have overregulation, it’s wrong. If you have underregulation, it’s wrong, and the question is to get a balance.”
Listen to the full interview below: