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New York City Jail Considered Serving Spoiled Meat

After Rikers Island officials discovered 65,000 pounds of spoiled meat at the jail, at least one official suggested that it be served to prisoners. The meat, valued at $130,816, was found rotting on July 11, 2011 when nauseating smells began emanating from two freezer trailers that had stopped working.

A Rikers captain walking by the trailers made the discovery upon noticing the putrid scent. A crew of kitchen staffers had failed to inspect the jail’s 33 refrigerators and freezers. “They didn’t check it for at least five days,” said a chef at the facility.

An inventory revealed the ruined food included cubed turkey thighs, Cajun turkey patties, veal patties, Jamaican beef patties, ground turkey, pizza pockets and cubed beef. The loss accounts for about 40% of the $350,000 officials had hoped to save on the jail’s annual food budget.

In recent years, Rikers officials reduced the amount of bread served and cut ice cream from the menu to save money. More recently they eliminated pepper packets and pudding.

When the spoiled meat was discovered, one Rikers official reportedly suggested it could be salvaged by washing it in cider vinegar and sodium bicarbonate before serving it to prisoners. “People would have gotten sick,” said the jail chef. A supervisor added, “You can’t get rid of the toxins.”

“Preliminary findings show that the freezers likely failed to turn back on following a loss of power after testing electrical generators,” said Rikers Island spokeswoman Sharman Stein. It is “absolutely incorrect that we considered serving the spoiled food.”

Stein said the incident was the first of its kind in 17 years. Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, disputed that notion. “This is just the first time they are talking about it,” he stated.

Source: New York Daily News

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