Mississippi bans local food ordinances
Any Mississippi cities or counties considering a sugary drink ban similar to the one New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had proposed are out of luck. On Monday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill preventing local governments — or any political subdivision — from banning or limiting the food and nonalcoholic beverages served in restaurants, food establishments and vending machines.
Last week, New York City’s ban on sugary drinks served in containers exceeding 16 ounces was set to go into effect. A State Supreme Court Justice, however, struck down the portion cap, saying that the New York Board of Health had exceeded its authority and that the rule was arbitrary. Bloomberg appealed the ruling and a New York appellate court agreed to hear the case in early June.
The Mississippi law went into effect immediately. In addition to prohibiting cities and counties from banning or limiting food, it also reserves for the legislature the power to regulate consumer incentive items, including kid’s meal toys; require the listing of nutritional information, allergen content or calorie count for menu items; or restrict the sale, distribution, growing or raising of food approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other federal or state agency.
According to an MSN News story, not all Mississippi mayors agree with the law. “There was no threat of any city enacting a portion control law,” said Herman, Miss., Mayor Chip Johnson. “And yet, we have this far-reaching bill that’s getting into menu labeling and even limiting our ability to zone restaurants.”