Mayor Bloomberg is making the city a healthier place, one step at a time. He’s first starting with NYC’s jails by banning all junk food from the inmates! Click below to read more of the story.
City Hall is planning to purge the commissary snack bars at all city jails of popular junk foods, like soda, potato chips, honey buns and M & Ms, the Daily News has learned.
The proposal is part of the Bloomberg administrationâ€™s emphasis on improving nutrition, and follows a change that took gut-busting grub off the menu in the pokey.
â€œAs part of the cityâ€™s anti-obesity work, we are continuously looking to appropriate steps to improve the food environment in city agencies,â€ said mayoral spokeswoman Samantha Levine.
But some officials at the Department of Correction are worried that no junk food could make for angry inmates â€” and more violence.
â€œThatâ€™s crazy. They are not going to be happy,â€ a jail supervisor told of the plan said of the inmate population.
The change is still in the planning phase, and came about when the agency began looking for new vendors for items sold in the commissary, a city official said.
The commissary now peddles a cornucopia of fatty foods.
The top item is sodium-packed
ramen instant noodles, which are 190 calories per serving. Inmates tend to discard the dried noodles and use the flavor packets to add kick to the often tasteless jail food.
Packets of mayonnaise, beef sticks and honey buns are also popular purchases at the commissary, jail records show.
The roughly 13,000 inmates in city jails spend a total of almost $13 million a year on commissary items. Apart from snacks they can also buy soap, shampoo and toothpaste, which are all sold in see-through bottles to prevent contraband from being hidden inside.
It was not clear if the proposal would add healthy foods to the commissary.
The department is also looking to pluck junk food out of vending machines on Rikers Island that are accessible to staff and visitors.
In 2003, the city banned smoking in its jails and began serving up more nutritious, heart-healthy food. There is now no fried food or trans fats served in the mess.
Jail officials hope the move helps reduce steadily increasing medical costs for inmates.
Those expenses have spiked by 11% over the past five years, from $78 million in 2007 to $87 million in 2011, records show. A large portion of those costs, however, went toward psychotropic medications to treat a skyrocketing number of mentally ill inmates.