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County to Shift to New Sweetened Beverage Standards

New standards will be implemented in all county vending machines, events, programs and departments.

 

County Executive Ken Ulman issued an executive order on Tuesday that will require all county vending machines, events, programs and departments to migrate to lower sugar and lower calorie options.

“I was amazed to learn that researchers link 20 percent of the nation’s weight problems to consuming sugary drinks,” said Ulman. “County Government can lead by example to support people in making better choices for themselves and for the children who follow our habits.”

The executive order was issued the same day Ulman participated in an event where 9.6 tons of "sugar"—actually white sand—was dumped at Burleigh Manor Middle School to show students how much sugar they would consume if each had one 12-ounce soda per day in a year.

After the event, Lisa Regnante, a Burleigh Manor Middle School PTA member, and mom to two sons who write a food blog, said, “It’s a never-ending battle to stay on top of what is in these drinks. When we have information about sugars, high fructose corn syrup, dyes … we can make our own decisions.”

The standards are based on guidelines from the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines require sweetened beverages to have less than 5 calories per serving, fruit beverages to contain 100 percent juice, milk options to be unflavored and contain less than 22 grams of sugar per eight ounce serving. In addition, diet drinks with artificial sweeteners will be limited to a quarter of the total beverage offerings.

"I hope it leads to other food standards and initiatives to encourage better health," said Ulman in a statement.

The county will transition to the new standards as contracts expire or are renegotiated with vendors.

The move does not apply to county schools. But Superintendent Renee Foose said at the event Tuesday the Board of Education is looking into revising the schools' wellness policy and may consider Ulman's order in that process, according to the Baltimore Sun

Ulman's executive order comes about three months after the New York City Board of Health approved a ban on the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks over 16 ounces. New York's ban was championed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to the New York Times.

"This is the single biggest step any city, I think, has ever taken to curb obesity," said Bloomberg after the ban was approved, according to the Times. "It's certainly not the last step that lots of cities are going to take, and we believe it will help save lives."

Ulman's order has already come under scrutiny in the state.

"Howard County Exec Ken Ulman has decided that sugary drinks are BAD and can't be sold on county property," tweeted Clarence Mitchell IV of WBAL Radio Wednesday morning. "Nanny Bloomberg SOUTH!"

"As Adults/ Parents it is and should only be our choices to make for both ourselves and or Family," commented Robert Federline on a Patch article, "No one else!"

What do you think, is the ban good for the county or unnecessary? Tell us in the comments.

Related Articles

Poll: Are Sugary Drinks a Problem in Howard County?

Soda Ban In Howard County? Public Health Leader Says No

Speak Out: Is a Soda Ban for Our Own Good?

Shawn December 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM
When I heard a radio interview with Ken Ulman concerning the soda ban on county property I was shocked with his explanation of why he invoked executive privilege in lieu of bringing it to a vote. When asked why Mr. Ulman invoked an executive order instead of bringing the matter to a vote, Mr. Ulman replied "Because I have the authority." Rest assured this act of authoritarianism is only the beginning. Government never relinquishes power, it only takes more.
stan December 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Well no more parks or fairs in Howard.
bill bissenas December 16, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Yes, and when he banned smoking in HoCo public parks he cited no studies, but instead rendered moral judgement, it was a, "dirty, filthy" habit. And when I asked him why he was implementing Healthy Howard, he said it would lower my health insurance premium (a delusional assumption given my insurance carrier and risk pool). You see, Ulman doesn't care about the facts, nor does he care about liberty. He simply cares about the amoral agenda of the socialist movement.
Moi December 31, 2012 at 05:32 PM
People in HoCo clearly enjoy the libraries- they circulated over 7 million items last year alone. They waited in line for hours for a FREE author event (Jodi Picoult), tens of thousands signed up for the summer reading program, thousands attended educational programs, 750+ 5th graders participated in Battle of the Books, and many many residents joined/renewed their Friends of HCLS memberships. I say it often, but this time you might really want to consider a move to a less progressive county. Just sayin'.
MG42 December 31, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Moi, follow through with your stats so we have the complete picture. You said that the libary circulated 7 million items last year. How many unique users checked those items out? How many of those items were books? I have long maintained that the library is utitilized a few very heavy users. Even if all 300,000 people in county checked something out (which they didn't but I'm being charitable) that's an average of 23 items a year or about two a month for each person. There's simply no way that the entire county is reading a book every two weeks. I think I may have to move. HC is being hijacked by morons.

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