Both the pork industry and prisoners are questioning the move by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to cut pork from its menu.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, officials announced last week that as of the start of fiscal year 2016, there will no pork served to the country’s 205,723 federal inmates. All pork products, including bacon, pork chops, pork roast and pork sausage, are nixed from the menu.
Officials say the move is based on an inmate survey and had nothing to do with Muslim or Jewish dietary restrictions. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross added cost was also a consideration in the decision.
Regardless, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) isn't buying the excuses.
“While we understand that inmates are denied certain freedoms in prison, we don’t think pork should be one of them,” NPPC Director of Communications Dave Warner told Meatingplace in an article here. “I do find it hard to believe that the majority would say ‘No thank you to bacon.'"
He added, "I’m not sure cost would really be an issue. Sausage is one of the commodities USDA buys. I know they buy a lot of that for the school lunch program and pork crumbles are used on pizza. The USDA is getting a good product at a very good price.”
It’s not just the industry questioning the lack of pork on the menu. Inmates are also starting to decry the decision.
So what is on the menu? The national prison menu includes hamburger, baked chicken, fish tacos, spaghetti, hummus, chicken fried rice and tofu fried rice.
Though it won’t be served on a tray, inmates will have the option to purchase bacon from the prison commissaries.