In a move that combines the mayor’s affinity for overbearing health regulations with his controversial stance on homeless shelters already under fire from advocacy groups and City Council members, a new rule barring food donations to shelters is raising even more concern.
CBS reports on the bizarre rule that turns away food, perhaps the most needed item for any shelter, because according to health officials, it’s impossible to gauge the items’ salt, fiber, and other nutritional stats.
When asked about the contradictory stipulation, Bloomberg huffed, “For the things that we run because of all sorts of safety reasons, we just have a policy it is my understanding of not taking donations.”
Unfortunately, news of the rule is just another day in Bloomberg’s “nanny-state.” The mayor has been repeatedly criticized for his health initiatives, with many believing his well-intentioned moves to improve New Yorkers’ health ultimately infringe upon basic rights.
In a scathing retort, NY Restaurant Examiner journalist Howard Portnoy writes:
Well, isn’t that special? The man who decreed that your sodium intake is his business and who spends a quarter million dollars of taxpayers’ money on three personal chefs is now refusing to allow good-hearted New Yorkers to help out their homeless brethren. His reason? Their edible donations may not stack up to his high standards of nutrition and food safety.
So how is his food safety initiative working out? That would be his system of assigning a letter grade to New York restaurants based on violation points assigned by his crack team of health inspectors. The program, which was launched in 2010, requires eating establishments to display their letter grade in a prominent location on the façade.
What does a restaurant need to do to earn an “A”? Judging from three branches of the coffee chain Starbucks that made the grade, contamination with fecal organisms is a good start. An investigation by the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center revealed that the establishments tested positive for Enterococcus, fecal strep, E. coli, and Klebsiella.
An article in the New York Post quotes DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond as explaining that the ban on food donations “is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on improving nutrition for all New Yorkers.” But the article’s author, Jeff Stier, wonders whether “the real driver behind the ban is the Bloomberg dietary diktats.”
With friends like Bloomie, another saying goes, who needs enemies?
Or a mind of their own, for that matter?
Doug Powers fantasizes:
In other words, “the government has it handled, we don’t need private institutions involved.” If only bureaucrats would ever say “the private sector has it handled, we don’t need the government involved.”
Not. gonna. happen.
Read more reax via Memeorandum.