The Massachusetts Department of Education donated thousands of cases of out-of-date food from the school lunch program to state prisons and a county jail, the Boston Globe reports. More than 11,000 cases of cheese, blueberries, frozen chicken, and other goods was offered free to kitchens that serve inmates.
An inmate advocate shuddered at the notion that food unfit for children could be served in jail. Federal guideline say that food properly stored or frozen can remain safe after expiration dates but loses nutritional value and taste. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction said that most of the food, including nearly 2,000 cases of cheddar cheese, was thrown out. The Hamden County jail, however, serves food from the school lunch program that is beyond its best-if-eaten-by date but not rotten. “It's been a good way to serve good food very frugally in terms of the budget,'' said spokesman Richard McCarthy. “It's not rancid food. It's not spoiled food.''