Kansas City, Missouri Health Department made a national splash when their staff literally poured bleach on food intended for homeless people earlier this month. A coalition of friends called Free Hot Soup (FHS) Kansas City had formed picnic-style food gatherings to provide hot meals for homeless people, and all went according to plan until officials trashed the food and doused it in bleach to render it inedible.

The Washington Post reported:

“It looked ugly Sunday,” the Star reported last week. “Home-cooked chili, stacks of foil-wrapped sandwiches, vats of soup and other food prepared by volunteers with Free Hot Soup Kansas City were dumped in bags and soaked in bleach to make sure no one went back to try to recover it.”

–“Everybody was ready to stand up for themselves,” Nellie McCool, a volunteer with Free Hot Soup Kansas City, told the Star. “We’re prepared to face the law.”

Free Hot Soup has even stripped the gathering point addresses from its group listings perhaps to keep local government from ambushing them again.

Surprisingly, all ends of the political spectrum were unified in an outcry against this affront on rights and helping others.

Does it really make safety sense to bleach food that might accidentally go back into someone’s mouth? Bleach, by the way, should never go into the ground for the same reasons it shouldn’t be ingested.

The Destruction of Food Should Be Left Behind in History…

I just want to point out that all throughout history, it was a recurring theme for commanders to destroy the food or crops of a people they wanted to subdue and control. Sowing tares in wheat fields. Burning crops with salt.

Regardless of what one thinks of the homeless problem in America or what we should do about it, here are three cold hard facts:

  1. Homelessness is a growing problem that includes a variety of people from different walks of life.
  2. The government is not helping and is likely hurting the problem. Health departments everywhere have been cracking down on attempts to allow access to food.
  3. People die in extreme weather without shelter and nourishment.

These three things happen whether we want them to or not. These things happen whether we have the perfect solution or not.

KCTV5 reported:

The Kansas City, Missouri Health Department has said that it will no longer use bleach in situations similar to the one that happened recently with a group called Free Hot Soup.

The Health Department tweeted on Saturday, “Given recent events regarding ‘Free Hot Soup,’ the Health Department has reviewed its food inspection practices. Please read our Updated FAQ to learn more.”

The KCHD released a PDF in response to the resident backlash of footage showing bleach poured on food for homeless people.

In response to the question, “Why did the Health Department pour bleach on food for the homeless?” KCHD wrote:

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 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

In response to residents’ concerns, The Health Department has reviewed its food disposal practices during inspections. In the future, inspectors will no longer use bleach in these types of situations.

“I am glad the use of bleach has been discontinued. Hopefully, there will be no more need for our union’s members to be called to watch the destruction of food meant for those that have nothing,” Tweeted Brad Lemon, president of the Kansas City, Missouri Fraternal Order of Police.


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