New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (D) administration is now banning all food being offered to the city's homeless shelters. In conjunction with a mayoral task force, the Department of Health and the Department of Homeless Services have recently begun enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters.
Jeff Stier is director of the risk analysis division at The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank institute. He laments that good Samaritans wanting to donate food are now turned away.
"I think this is an abuse of taxpayer dollars for the mayor to try to control how we live," Stier offers. "And he's actually having the effect of discouraging donations, private sector donations, to the homeless and trying to expand the scope and responsibility of government, which is really going in the wrong direction."
Officials with the Department of Homeless Services contend the ban is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg's emphasis on "improving nutrition for all New Yorkers." The think tank senior fellow, however, says it is the nanny state at its worst.
"The recipients, the beneficiaries, or as some here might call them, 'victims,' have so much appreciated not only the food, but the gesture of people from the community including them and caring for them," Stier notes. "And the mayor is saying, no -- you're only going to eat the institutional food that we provide. That's outrageous!"
The new inter-agency controls what can be served at facilities for the homeless. Serving sizes, salt, fat, and calorie contents will be dictated, as will fiber minimums and condiment recommendations.