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State prison meals get an ‘acceptable’ review June 14, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Oregon inmates complain about the food, and the state prison system’s former food buyer is expected to be charged soon with taking illegal kickbacks.

But the food served to Oregon’s 13,000 prison inmates is “acceptable,” according to a report released Wednesday. “Inmates are provided with nutritionally adequate meals that are prepared and served in a manner that meets established governmental health and safety codes,” the report concluded.

Max Williams, Oregon Department of Corrections director, promised to look into prison food, its quality and handling after federal agents in January revealed their investigation of Fred Monem, who was the state’s food buyer at the time. Monem had been praised over the years for saving the state money by getting good deals on the “spot market.” But federal court documents include accusations that he took more than $1 million in bribes from companies that sold food close to its pull date. Monem has been fired. He is expected to be charged soon.

Several food brokers who accused Monem of taking kick-backs are cooperating with federal investigators. Meanwhile, the outside review team appointed by Williams completed its report. And while giving the food a passing grade, the committee did make some recommendations, including regular inspections, a food-borne illness prevention program, and increased consistency of menus and recipes.

The review team reached its conclusions after conducting unannounced kitchen visits and informal discussions with staff and inmates.



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