Thursday, March 22, 2012
Putting the Nanny in Nanny state. NYC bans "unhealthy" food at homeless shelters.
via Daily Caller New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is once again stirring a national debate on government-mandated healthy eating with a prohibition of high-calorie food donations to city-run homeless shelters.
Concerned that other municipalities may implement copycat policies if this policy prevails, activists on the political left and right are pushing back against Bloomberg, hoping to get the prohibition overturned.
“They will back down only if we keep the heat up,” Jeff Stier, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, told The Daily Caller. “We’re encouraging people to donate the highest quality health food they can to shelters.”
Anti-fatty foods activists, who helped push through the city’s ban on trans-fat foods in its restaurants and bars a few years ago, are pleased with the Bloomberg precedent, however. They hope his policy could lead to radical new laws around the nation to ban fatty food consumption, much like cigarette smoking has been banned in restaurants and offices.
The source of the new ban is a mayor’s office policy memorandum. Stier obtained a copy of the memo just weeks ago after being tipped off by a local cleric who said that his religious organization was being bullied by the city for providing food that allegedly contained too much salt and fat content to the homeless or near-homeless, senior citizens who were too aged to work, and recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.
“Churches and synagogues have been bringing food to city shelters for decades,” said Stier, a lawyer and a former official in Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration. “Now they’re being turned away. Shelter managers told them they were forbidden by the city’s homeless department bureaucrats from accepting the food. The charities had to throw away the food.”
The city’s new policy seeks to prescribe the kinds of food that homeless who live in its shelters can eat, and prohibits high-fat, high-calorie foods, as well as certain kinds of condiments, Stier told TheDC.