Beverage group, businesses sue New York over sugary drink ban

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) - A coalition of trade groups and businesses sued New York City on Friday, challenging Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new regulation banning the sale of large-sized sugary soft drinks in restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses.

The lawsuit, filed in New York state supreme court in Manhattan by the American Beverage Association and a number of other plaintiffs, claims the mayoral-appointed board of health overstepped its authority when it unanimously passed the law last month. The power to approve such legislation lies solely with the city council, the lawsuit contends.

The ban, the first of its kind in the United States, outlaws sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces nearly everywhere they are sold, except in grocery and convenience stores. It is the latest step in Bloomberg's longstanding quest to combat obesity and its deleterious health effects, following other controversial measures such as requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus.

Opponents have attacked the regulation as an infringement on personal freedom and a blow to businesses.

The lawsuit seeks to have a judge bar the law before it can take effect next spring.

The case is New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce et al. v. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene et al., 653584/2012, New York State Supreme Court, New York County.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; editing by Matthew Lewis)