Pork Roast Back On Federal Prison Menu After Industry, Grassley Complain


After a week of controversy around its abrupt removal of pork dishes from the national menu for federal inmates, the federal government did an about-face yesterday and put pork roast back on the prison bill of fare, reports the Washington Post. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) disclosed the decision soon after Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.), whose Judiciary Committee oversees the prison system, expressed dismay at what he implied was a wasteful survey of inmates' food preferences and a lack of transparency in the decision. “The pork industry is responsible for 547,800 jobs, which creates $22.3 billion in personal incomes and contributes $39 billion to the gross domestic product,” Grassley told BOP director Charles Samuels. Grassley said the “unprecedented” decision to remove pork from federal prisons would “have consequences on the livelihoods of American citizens who work in the pork industry.”

The new pork policy has affected 206,000 federal inmates since it started Oct. 1. It was widely panned by the pork industry, a significant lobbying force in Washington. It was praised by the chicken and beef industries, natural competitors to pork. Muslim groups feared a backlash from anti-Islam groups that could spin the decision into a case of the federal government acting under pressure from Muslims. A BOP spokesman had said that based on annual surveys of inmates' food preferences, pork lost its appeal in the prison system years ago. In the last two years, the menu had dropped from bacon, pork chops and sausages to just one dish: Pork roast, the entree now back on federal prison dining halls

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