I really did think it was too dumb to check. I saw this column in the Post yesterday and passed on blogging it because I figured it’d turn out to be an exaggeration. Nope. That’s what I get for giving the benefit of the doubt to a guy who worries about people on food stamps buying sugary drinks.

You might die cold and hungry on the streets of New York, my friends, but at least you won’t have to worry about high salt intake.

In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans…

DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond says the ban on food donations is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on improving nutrition for all New Yorkers. A new interagency document controls what can be served at facilities — dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations.

The city also cites food-safety issues with donations, but it’s clear that the real driver behind the ban is the Bloomberg dietary diktats.

What is with this guy running his little nutritional experiments on the city’s poorest people? Are they simply targets of opportunity, dependent upon NYC’s government for survival and therefore forced to follow whatever pleasure-stifling nannyism Bloomberg can cook up for them? Or does he focus on the poor because in America cheap eats tend to be bad eats, which leads (paradoxically) to more obese poor people? Or maybe it’s a preventive measure aimed at minimizing health-care costs for the poor by improving their diets before they get sick? Or maybe Bloomberg just has deep psychological issues about salt? All theories are welcome.