Some years ago, Christopher Hitchens wrote a great piece for Vanity Fair in which he set out to break as many laws of petit Javert and New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg as possible: sitting on a milk crate, taking his feet off the pedals of his bike, feeding pigeons, the list goes on. It’s a shame Hitch has died, because it would be great to get his take on Bloomberg’s latest ban: feeding the homeless:
The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term “food police” to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.
In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.
DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond says the ban on food donations is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on improving nutrition for all New Yorkers. A new interagency document controls what can be served at facilities — dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations.
The city also cites food-safety issues with donations, but it’s clear that the real driver behind the ban is the Bloomberg dietary diktats.