NYC Health Dept: Sugary Drinks Limit is Reasonable

FILE - In this May 31, 2012 file photo, a man leaves a 7-Eleven store with a Double Gulp drink, in New York. Opponents of the city�s limit on the size of sugary drinks are are raising questions of racial fairness alongside other complaints as the novel restriction faces a court test. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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NEW YORK (AP) - A New York City lawyer says a limit on the size of sugary drinks is reasonable and necessary because of an obesity epidemic.

Health Department lawyer Thomas Merrill also says the health board had the authority to enact the measure.

Merrill made the remarks Wednesday in a Manhattan court.

An industry lawyer calls the limit an "extraordinary infringement" on consumer choice. James Brandt represents the American Beverage Association and other opponents.

The NAACP's New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation also want to stop the rule from taking effect March 12.

They say it will harm minority businesses and "freedom of choice in low-income communities."

The measure bars restaurants and many other eateries from selling high-sugar drinks in containers bigger than 16 ounces.