BOSTON (CBS) – Thousands of cases of food that were rejected by the state’s school lunch program were instead sent to the state’s prison system.
According to documents obtained by The Boston Globe, the state Department of Education donated more than 11,000 cases of expired cheese, blueberries, frozen chicken, and other goods to kitchens that serve inmates.
State Department Of Corrections spokesperson Diane Wiffin told WBZ-TV that they accept surplus food from the Department of Education at the end of each school year.
“If the food passes inspection, it is incorporated into our menu,” Wiffin said in a statement. “Any food that does not meet specifications gets disposed of. We do not serve food passed(sic) its prime.”
Wiffin said serving surplus food saves taxpayers money.
Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that prisoners should not have to tolerate the expired food.
Leslie Walker talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030
“If it’s food that’s not going to be edible for school children, I don’t know why it should be edible for anyone,” says Walker. “It’s insulting to be a captive audience and then have food presented to you and told to eat it quickly and get back to your cell when you’re quite aware that food has at the very least significantly compromised nutritional value and at the most, no nutritional value. It’s insulting. But unfortunately, too many prisoners are used to being insulted in this manner.”
US Department of Agriculture guidelines say that properly stored frozen food can remain safe after its expiration date, but it may lose nutritional value and taste.