Brooklyn Borough Boss Calls for Restaurant Billboard Ban

restaurant billboard
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Brooklyn has put fast food restaurants in its crosshairs.

Borough President Eric Adams has asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to ban advertisements for junk food from New York City property, including fast food restaurant billboards. The move comes on the heels of the de Blasio adminstration barring ads for alcohol from city property.

The 58 year old Adams became Brooklyn Borough President in 2013 and in ‘17 was elected to a second term. Previously, he was a Democratic State Senator in the New York Senate, representing the 20th Senate District, which includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville, Crown Heights, Flatbush, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Sunset Park. Prior to his service in government, Adams served as a police officer in the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for 22 years.

Adams’ goal is the same treatment for sugary, fatty foods that harm New Yorkers’ health. “If we will not allow a billboard of ‘Joe Camel holding a cigarette’ or ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ sipping a Dos Equis beer, then why should we allow [a restaurant billboard of] the ‘Hamburglar’ or the ‘Kool-Aid Man’ to promote bacon cheeseburgers, sugar-sweetened drinks, or any other foods that we know contribute to unhealthy diets leading to chronic disease among young people and adults alike?” Adams wrote to de Blasio and Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city health commissioner.

De Blasio, a Democrat, signed an executive order in April banning ads for alcohol from most city property such as newsstands, bus shelters and LinkNYC kiosks in an effort to reduce excessive drinking.

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The order affects future and renewed contracts for advertising. Current agreements with companies that place advertising on city property don’t expire until 2026 and 2027, City Hall has said, so firms won’t be legally barred from posting alcohol ads until then.

Adams, also a Democrat, wants a similar ban placed on ads for junk foods, which he defines as eats that don’t comply with the city’s Food Standards. Those are health guidelines for foods that the city government purchases and serves. For example, all labeled items have to be trans-fat-free and all purchased beverages can have no more than 25 calories per eight ounces.

The city could apply those standards to foods advertised on its property and companies could showcase their healthier options, Adams argued. He noted that London recenly banned ads for junk food from its public transportation system.

“These advertising changes would help educate the public about healthier choices and show that, even in a busy world, healthy options are available at their neighborhood restaurant chain,” Adams said.

De Blasio spokeswoman Marcy Miranda said City Hall will review Adams’s fast food restaurant billboard idea. “This Administration supports healthy eating habits, and has taken steps to increase access to healthy foods,” Miranda said in a statement. “We look forward to reviewing the details of Borough President Adams’ proposal to determine before taking a position.”

  • Cuisine Solutions
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Inline Plastics
  • McKee Foods
  • RAK Porcelain
  • RATIONAL USA
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Easy Ice
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Day & Nite
  • Imperial Dade