by Marion Nestle
Sep 17 2007

Institutional Food Service: The Ultimate

Thanks to Alexandra Lewin for sending me this short video of a convention of commercial companies providing food service to prisons (and schools). At first I thought it was a satire, but I have an uneasy feeling that it’s not. Your thoughts?

  • Brian M.

    What seemed satirical about it? It looked very bland to me.

  • I agree, that’s just the sad truth, horrific, but not satirical.

    It’s not just corrections and schools, but likely also the military.

    There was a piece in today’s Ottawa Citizen (where I’m from in Canada) that details how the Canadian military may be offering up the contracts on its bases to the likes of Tim Horton’s, Burger King etc.

    Unfortunately money, not nutrition, talks.

  • I found this surprisingly thought provoking. The portion controls of the chicken thigh bits led me to wonder whether prisoners tend to get an appropriate caloric intake of food, unlike most of us on the outside. Could the right amount of poor quality and awful looking food leave the prisoners healthier than the average American overeater? Prison life is probably a bit stressful and unpleasant, even beyond the cuisine. I would be surprised if long-time prisoners were healthy.

    I also wonder whether soda companies have pouring contracts with prisons — are there vending machines in prison?

    It’s good to know another way we use all the left over dark meat chicken. There is an interesting documentary called “Life and Debt” which is about the impact of free trade on Jamaica’s economy. The narrator relates a story of a Jamaica being forced (because of free trade) to purchase a large shipment of dark meat chicken from the US, and comes to find out that the chicken has been frozen for an amazingly long time – over 20 years if memory serves. Jamaica is eventually allowed not to buy that meat, which is then sold to Haiti. I hope the prisoners and our kids in school are getting slightly fresher dark meat!

    I think eating that food 3 meals a day would make me want to stab myself with a corn dog stick! Good thing there are no sticks. This video will keep me out of trouble!