SJ committee kills proposal to ban sugary drinks

SAN JOSE, Calif.

On Tuesday, Styrofoam food containers became history in San Jose when the city council voted to ban them from restaurants. On Wednesday, the debate was on banning sugary drinks and even whole milk from certain city facilities. Some began calling the city "Ban Jose."

"I mean, what's next? Do we ban steaks in the city of San Jose because red meat can lead to heart disease?" asked city councilmember Pete Constant.

City councilman Ash Kalra is the author of the proposal. "Certainly, in terms of dealing with juvenile diabetes and juvenile obesity, there are a lot of roles government can play," he said.

Aside from whole milk, some of the other fattening drinks are sodas, diet included, sports drinks with a lot of sweeteners, flavored water with sweeteners, and sugary fruit juices.

Kalra said he was targeting vending machines in libraries and community centers. Most people who spoke with ABC7 News said they didn't like the idea. Callen Zadrozney said, "I really do enjoy sports drinks like Gatorade and drinks like chocolate milk make a great snack too."

Some parents had strong opinions. "I don't give my children soft drinks but as a parent, I think you should have the right to choose," Christine Stanton said.

Opponents point to the city's zoo as a model for resolving the controversy. The zoo's cafe sells all kinds of food and of course, soft drinks, but it also partners with Kaiser Hospital to offer healthy choices. "I hope to continue focusing on providing a variety of choices here at Happy Hollow," said zoo worker Shannon Heimer.

The display of soft drinks at the front of the zoo has been replaced with bottled water and grab-and-go carts are filled with nuts and berry snacks.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the proposal was killed in committee after a long debate. Maybe now, the city will lose its rep as "Ban Jose."

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