Baltimore restaurants banned from including sodas, sugary drinks on kids’ menus

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Eating places in Baltimore at the moment are formally barred from together with sodas and different sugary drinks on children’ menus, in line with a metropolis ordinance that went into impact Wednesday.

Baltimore is now the largest U.S. metropolis and the primary on the East Coast to move this type of measure, stated Shawn McIntosh, director of the Sugar Free Youngsters Maryland advocacy group. Seven California cities and Lafayette, Colorado, have enacted related ordinances, in line with well being officers.

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Milk, 100 p.c fruit juices, water, and flavored or glowing water with out added sweeteners should now be the default drinks for teenagers’ meals at Baltimore eateries. Mayor Catherine Pugh signed the laws earlier this yr.

The ordinance is meant to cease children’ overconsumption of sugary drinks, perceived as a key consider excessive charges of power illnesses resembling diabetes.

“Taking out empty energy from sugary drinks is a strong way of life change we will make to assist our kids to get and keep wholesome. This legislation will assist households make the wholesome alternative the straightforward alternative,” Baltimore Well being Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen stated in an announcement.

One in 4 Baltimore kids at the moment down not less than one soda every day, in line with Sugar Free Youngsters Maryland. And the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention says that one in three school-aged children within the metropolis is overweight.

Baltimore eating places that do not adjust to the ordinance will probably be confronted with a $100 penalty, McIntosh stated. She stated eateries “have hopefully gotten on board” already and altered their printed menus for teenagers, however they are not anticipated to have totally made that swap by Wednesday.

“They should not less than put a sticker on, have signage. Their on-line menus should be modified as a result of that is a straightforward repair. So they are not anticipating them to print all new menus by immediately,” she stated.

Kids can nonetheless drink soda at metropolis eating places if an accompanying grownup orders it for them.

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The “Wholesome Drinks for Kids’s Meals” ordinance was opposed by the Restaurant Affiliation of Maryland. In a Wednesday electronic mail, affiliation vp Melvin Thompson stated “public coverage that interferes with the trivialities of restaurant operations exacerbates the enterprise challenges already dealing with metropolis eating places.”

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