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Health Dept. Dumps Bleach On Food For Homeless Because They Didn’t Have Permit

City of Kansas City health department won't throw bleach on food for homeless anymore after criticism.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Health Department has revised its policy of throwing bleach on food to ruin it so homeless people can’t eat it.

The policy change came after the department received criticism when officials poured bleach Nov. 5 on meals for homeless people, according to The Hill.

The food was being given to homeless people by a group called Free Hot Soup KC, according to the Kansas City Star.

The food included home-cooked chili, foil wrapped sandwiches and vats of soup.

The Heath Department said at the time that Free Hot Soup KC did not have permits to distribute food and was putting people at risk because of the possibility the food could be contaminated, according to the Kansas City Star.

“E. coli or salmonella or listeria can grow in the food,” health department director Rex Archer said, according to the Kansas City Star. “And then you give that to homeless people who are more vulnerable, they will end up in the ER and even die from that exposure.”

However, on Nov. 16, the health department announced changes in how it deals with Free Hot Soup KC.

On a Frequently Asked Question file posted on its website, the health department explained why it will no longer pour bleach on food.

“While the use of bleach may be alarming, it is a common practice used by public health departments throughout the country when responding to direct threats to public health from potentially contaminated food,” the FAQ stated. “The inspector at one location was told food would be re-served after being placed in trash bags, therefore the inspector had to use bleach to ensure the food in question would not be served.”

The FAQ then stated that due to residents’ concerns, the health department’s inspectors will no longer use bleach in these types of situations.

Tom Gantert - November Sun, 2018


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