Nutraloaf, a product from the cafeteria of the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, sits atop an inmate’s bunk bed at the facility in South Burlington, Vt., March 21, 2008. (AP Photo/Andy Duback)

Last August, with Is Prison Food Unconstitutional? was the first time (on the blog) that I had considered the nutritional health of US prisoners.

Despite the catchy headline bait, the number of organic food programs within prisons serving their canteens is still limited. The reality is that prisoners eat poor quality food.

Earlier this month, CBS reported that “the USDA recalled more than 200,000 pounds of ground beef products sent to prisons in Oregon and California after inspectors found that some were discolored and smelled funky.” The packed-on dates were between July and November 2010. This beef went only to prisons, not to retailers.

Bryan Finoki, usually residing at Subtopia, has launched a call for Prison Food Critics.

“It seems as though the connections between the two [prisons and food] can be seen across a fascinating spectrum of cultural, moral, and economic landscapes, sharing fascinating intersections with histories of pop food magnates, innovative smuggler networks, Auschwitz-era recipe books, the politics of prison labor, and race-infused hunger strikes, just to start! […] Prisons don’t just deserve their own inmate food writers – they absolutely need them!”

Finoki meanders through prison food law, the cultural history of Nutraloaf and even theorises food as warfare, “Food is a very primal weapon, and its disguise under the cloak of non-lethality would surely not escape our astute prison food writer. In fact, no one has studied the long-term effects of prison food or the Nutraloaf.”

I am just left to wonder if writing is enough? Isn’t the juicy, dripping, all-colour image part-and-parcel of  foodie blogs, recipe mags and eatery advertisements?

Shouldn’t the articles Finoki calls for be accompanied by dressed food photography?

WANTED! Prison Food Photographers!


Science in Prison, Change Within Ourselves

Benjamin Drummond, Sara Joy Steele, Nature and Washington State Prisons

Prison Moss Project