The problem is, there is no universal rule for food safety in prisons, as state, local, and federal prisons all have different guidelines. Federal prisons adhere to the Bureau of Prisons’ Food Service Manual, which unlike the FDA’s rule book for restaurants, lacks any clear language about when a kitchen worker can start working after being sick and has no requirements for kitchen workers to be trained in food safety.
State and local prisons are responsible for their own guidelines and can follow whatever rules they want, and many aren’t too concerned with this issue.
Solving the Prison Food Problem
A way to combat the problem, Friedmann shares, is by increasing oversight on food preparation and services.
“We recommend independent oversight and holding prisons to a higher standard, to ensure you are serving quality food,” he says. “These are massive institutions, and there could be 500 to 2,000 people eating the same meal, so if something goes wrong, that impacts a lot of people. Increasing quality control would help to resolve the problem.”