Mayor Bloomberg—who once sold out the city's schools to Snapple for a few million—is deeply committed to nannying these days. Hot on the heels of his Health Department's soda ban, it seems his no-fun-men are now getting their sticky fingers into private hospitals. He's already junked the junk from public health-care facilities.
Basically the Health Department has started pushing its "Healthy Hospital Food Initiative" [PDF] on private hospitals so that they can "stay ahead of the trend" by accepting "New York City Food Standards." The idea—which the Department isn't giving numbers on just yet—is to "give hospital employees, patients, and visitors increased access to better food choices." After all, sugar is bad. But the initiative also means denying those same people basic comfort foods in an emotionally draining location at highly charged times. For example, a few of the rules the standards push include:
* No meals featuring deep-fried food, trans fats, 2% or whole milk, fruit in syrup, or salty food. * All full-size portions of sandwiches, salads, and entrees must contain 650 calories or less. * All beverages will be 12 ounces or smaller, except water and seltzer — and water and seltzer will be at least 25% cheaper than other drinks. * Baked chips, nuts or pretzels instead of candy bars in vending machines. * Desserts and other sweets will contain 250 calories or less.
Yes, there are lots of good reasons for this push to bring health into private health-care facilities. But also, having spent many, many hours sitting around in many depressing, awful, boring, hospitals with sick family and friends over the years, we can say with authority that sometimes you just want a fucking soda and some sugar to keep alert—and you really don't want to leave your friend or family's bedside for any longer than needed to get it. Which is effectively what this forces you to do.