Albuquerque mayor overrules condiment ban placed on free senior meals

Seniors who had been forbidden to season meals provided by the city can thank Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry for intervening in the "condiment wars."

Because the city's congregate meal program is funded through a grant, it is required to follow strict nutritional requirements. However, some seniors felt the requirements were draconian, because they banned all condiments unless they were served with the meal. That meant seniors couldn't use salt, pepper, ketchup or other condiments to season their food, even if they brought their own. The grant also forbid coffee being served with lunches.

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Conway Wood, 94, told the  Albuquerque Journal he got reprimanded for using a salt packet he brought from home to season his asparagus.

After reading the complaints from senior diners, the mayor decided to take action on what he said may have been "well-intentioned" guidelines that don't pass the "common sense test." He had city staff review the guidelines, and now the city will provide a variety of condiments, including salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard and salsa that will be available with all senior meals served by the city. Berry also ordered the program to lift the coffee ban.

The new guidelines go into effect immediately.

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