Ed Driscoll

Aw: Workers in Bloomberg's Ministry of Food Cringe when Rules Apply to Them

The London Daily Mail reported in February that Mike Bloomberg spends “$245,000 in taxpayers’ cash on three chefs” at Gracie Mansion. And his staffers are also free to indulge their culinary excesses, the New York Times reported last fall:

At the sixth-floor pantry in its glossy Upper East Side headquarters, employees can pick from a health-conscious menu of celery sticks, bananas, freshly made peanut butter and 100-calorie snack packs.

There is also free Coke, Pepsi, orange Fanta, ginger ale and Mountain Dew — exactly the types of drinks Mr. Bloomberg this week said he wanted to prohibit poor New Yorkers from buying with their food stamps.

“We have all the junk in the world up there,” a Bloomberg employee, who declined to be named for fear of upsetting the company, said during an interview outside the offices at 731 Lexington Avenue. “I mean, you can gain 15 pounds in a hurry.”

But then, the Inner Party is always allowed to indulge themselves. Outer Party workers? Not so much. Down in the bowels of  Bloomberg’s Ministry of Food, things are a bit more regimented.

“No fried food: Health Dept. workers cringe at new rules restricting foods, fragrances, decorations,” the New York Daily News reports:

No overbearing perfume. No obscene pictures. And definitely no French fries for work lunches.

That’s the new edict for employees of the same city Health Department that brought you calorie-counting menus and snuffed out smoking on beaches and in parks.

The updated rules – which range from what workers can serve at agency powwows to how loud they can talk in the office – come as the Health Department begins to move into its new Queens digs today.

A set of guidelines for “Life in the Cubicle Village” sent to employees asks them to avoid wearing products with “noticeable odors” or posting “any displays, photos, cartoons, or other personal items that may be offensive.”

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Employees also got a bright-colored brochure stipulating what can and can’t be served at meetings and parties.

Tap water is a menu must when food or drinks are served. Other beverages must be less than 25 calories per 8 ounces.

“Cut muffins and bagels into halves or quarters, or order mini sizes. Offer thinly-sliced, whole-grain bread,” the brochure states.

Deep-fried foods are an absolute no-no and “cannot be served.”

For celebrations, cake and air-popped popcorn – “popped at the party and served in brown paper lunch bags” – are allowed.

But when a “celebration cake” is served, cookies can’t be offered.

“These standards are mandatory for meetings and events sponsored by the Health Department,” the brochure states.

Health honchos say they are just practicing what they preach.

“The Health Department is leading by example by updating its guidelines for food and beverages served at agency meetings and events,” spokeswoman Erin Brady said.

Still, one Health Department worker said she was surprised by the brochure’s nitpicking detail.

“This seems like micromanaging,” she said.

Gee, you think? On the plus side, welcome to real world, sister. On the down side, doubleplusungood thoughtcrime! Heretic! Get ready to sample the food in Room 101. Or perhaps, it’s the other way around…