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So why did federal prisons remove all pork from the menu?

So why did federal prisons remove all pork from the menu?

We’re not buying the claim that inmates stopped loving bacon.

Did inmates stop liking bacon, or something?

Did pork products spike in price so much that the pork-laden government had to cut back.

Why in the world would the federal prison system eliminate all pork products?

Lisa Rein of the Washington Post reports:

Finally, the government has decided to eliminate pork — from the menu in federal prisons

The nation’s pork producers are in an uproar after the federal government abruptly removed bacon, pork chops, pork links, ham and all other pig products from the national menu for 206,000 federal inmates.

The ban started with the new fiscal year last week.

The Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for running 122 federal penitentiaries and feeding their inmates three meals a day, said the decision was based on a survey of prisoners’ food preferences:

They just don’t like the taste of pork.

“Why keep pushing food that people don’t want to eat?” asked Edmond Ross, a spokesman for the prison bureau. “Pork has been the lowest-rated food by inmates for several years,” It also apparently got more expensive for the government to buy, although he did not provide specifics.

Ann Althouse asks the obvious question:

Why don’t they just admit they’re doing it to accommodate religion and it’s easier to have one rule that works for everyone than to bother with the complexity of alternative meals for the minority who must avoid pig products?

Sure enough, if you drill down to the bottom of the Post article, you find this:

“In general we welcome the change because it’s facilitating the accommodation of Muslim inmates,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group. “We hope it’s not an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.”

Hooper predicted that anti-Islam groups would spin the decision into a case of the federal government acting under pressure from Muslims.

“This is just the kind of thing that drives them crazy,” he said. “It will stoke the fires of Islamophobia based on the usual conspiracy theories.”

If religious accommodation were the issue, that’s presumably something that’s been an issue for a long time, and inmates have non-pork meals available already.

It’s beyond strange. We’re not buying the “inmates hate bacon” story.

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Follow the money: beef and poultry producers stand to gain?

Funny…and not EVEN credible…to think that prisoners in Federal pens would turn up their noses at a ham steak, pork chop, or rasher of bacon!

OR that pork is expensive relative to beef. It isn’t. It’s only marginally more expensive than chicken per pound.

No, this smacks of them trolling us some more. We’ve noted this from the Obami. They just have to keep futzing with our heads. It really is a tactic.

    Milwaukee in reply to Ragspierre. | October 11, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Maybe not. If your a devout Muslim it isn’t enough to not eat pork, but for food to be halal it needs to be cooked in a halal space. Pots and pans once used for pork must be properly cleaned before being used to prepare halal food.

    Removing pork products is one of many steps needed to make the kitchens halal. “Halal” being the Muslim correspondent to “kosher”. I won’t knowingly eat halal meat.

    Years ago my Peace Corps country director put on a Christmas meal for Volunteers which included ham. His Muslim household help said ‘not a problem’. He did all the cooking. They did the cleaning up, which meant dragging everything which could be carried into the backyard and washing everthing in dirt. Those items were dragged back into the kitchen and washed in soap and water, and all was good.

      Ragspierre in reply to Milwaukee. | October 11, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Oh, I totally get the whole food taboo things with halal and kosher.

      For food to be really kosher, meat animals have to be slaughtered by a rabbi. Halal slaughter is very, very similar, which is hardly remarkable. It’s all very interesting from a food science perspective. But it’s all been accommodated by the federal penal system, too.

      For a lot of Muslims, meat animals can even be slaughtered by (YIKES!) Christians or Jews. Every Muslim gets a pass if eating non-halal is the only recourse to starvation. Which, put to it, is the choice I’d give federal prisoners generally. But I’m harsh.

        userpen in reply to Ragspierre. | October 11, 2015 at 11:22 am

        Ha ha! That’s a good one. Rags is harsh! I about choked on my coffee.

        Valerie in reply to Ragspierre. | October 11, 2015 at 11:31 am

        My experience with Jewish people who want to pick a food fight might be instructive: I have seen a nonobservant Jew object to having pork in a package next to chicken in a refrigerator. He did it to be an a$$hole, not to be a good Jew.

        There is a big difference between people who follow religious dietary restrictions consistently and in their own lives, and those who use religion as an excuse for bullying other people.

        The cost excuse is a lie. Relative cost of meats varies over time. Pork is cheaper, right now.

        Also, it will not do to forget the effect of our own culture. Netflix has recently released a set of new episodes of “Orange is the new Black,” which has a long-running story line about a group of black prisoners who notice that the kosher meals provided to the prison are different from the regular meals, so they declare that they are Jewish, to get the meals. I am willing to bet that these episodes have been a major topic of conversation in our prisons for at least 6 months.

    Milwaukee in reply to Ragspierre. | October 11, 2015 at 10:44 am

    “No, this smacks of them trolling us some more. We’ve noted this from the Obami. They just have to keep futzing with our heads. It really is a tactic.”

    While I do credit them with being clever, for liberals, perhaps for this to be a trolling operation it would require too much insight and perception for the Obami. That they would “futz with our heads” is just an unintended, unexpected, surprising, and pleasing consequence. Actually as a trolling activity it suggests credit for a previously undetected sense of humor.

    Yep. I fully believe it was push from ” cair” or some such group.
    I also understand the conversion rate to islam in prison is pretty high.

Char Char Binks | October 11, 2015 at 10:12 am

Good, they don’t deserve bacon.

    Heh. I’d shank someone if their problems took away my bacon. Not as harsh as Rags, but close

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Char Char Binks. | October 11, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    I have a feeling that when prisoners get bacon it can be as a rubbery abomination floating in soupy beans.

    I remember my mother telling me that when she was in the Army Air Corp in WWII the men all wanted invitations to eat at the women’s mess. Since the women’s mess cooked for 150 and the men’s mess was cooking for over 3000 there was a vast difference in how the very same food would be prepared. The women would have fried chicken, the men baked. The women might serve ground beef as individual burgers. The men would get meatloaf. I suspect prison fare works along the same lines. If fixing it right takes individual attention, and crispy bacon does, it isn’t likely to happen.

      Ragspierre in reply to NC Mountain Girl. | October 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Hey, there’s a reason the Army calls it a “mess” hall…!!!

      But I an tell you from experience, when a private contractor took over food preparation, it was like a whole new, wonderful world!

      And I’ve known kid who were bakers in prison who produced WONDERFUL baked goods, as fine as you’d get anywhere.

“This is just the kind of thing that drives them crazy,” he said. “It will stoke the fires of Islamophobia based on the usual conspiracy theories.”

And that’s exactly what they want. As Rags points out, they’re just straight-up trolling us at this point.

Just to be on the safe side, they should just stop serving all meat, and make the prisoners become vegan.

Recidivism would drop dramatically.

    Valerie in reply to rinardman. | October 11, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Jews who want to keep kosher, and don’t want to get into a big discussion over it, order vegetarian meals, especially when they are eating with others or traveling.

      Milhouse in reply to Valerie. | October 11, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Jews who are serious about keeping kosher will not accept vegetarian meals. They’ll either nurse a Coke while everyone else is eating, or pick at a fruit plate or something.

      Char Char Binks in reply to Valerie. | October 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Maybe not providing kosher meals would solve the problem of all the young out-of-control Jews filling our prisons because they’re trying to be the next Bugsy Siegal or Meyer Lansky.

What ever happened to “Bread and Water?”

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | October 11, 2015 at 11:23 am

This is just another example of Obama siding with criminals. He sent people to the funerals of Michael Brown – a man who got himself killed because he had committed a strong arm robbery and then tried to overpower a police officer who was investigating the robbery, and Trayvon Martin, a man who got himself killed after climbing on top of a man and slamming his head into concrete. Meanwhile, Obama treats cops like criminals.

One of his first acts as President was to allow the Justice Department to send thousands of guns to Mexican criminals in drug cartels and now he’s spent years of his presidency trying to restrict gun liberty (I have no doubt he’d completely disarm us if he thought he could get away with it). He’s already announced he is going to let several thousand “non-violent” offenders out of prison early. I expect many of them will become violent once they are on the street and a spike in violent crime will follow. I also think there is a reasonable chance that before the next president is sworn in he will issue a wave of pardons and commutations. Who knows, maybe he’ll do something “unprecedented” and issue more pardons and commutations than all other presidents combined. I think there’s a real chance of that.

The man is a disgrace.

The Friendly Grizzly | October 11, 2015 at 11:28 am

I guess all those tens of thousands of Jewish prisoners threatened violence if they didn’t get rid of the pork. Right?

Tell me a again what Obama would do differently if he were a Muslim and wanted a Caliphate?

Isn’t it funny how “facilitating the accommodation of Muslims” generally means creating difficulties for non-Muslims or restricting their choices.

In this case, “accommodating Muslims” means that everyone else in that population is compelled to follow Islamic law. Likewise, people all over Britain are eating halal meat (often without realizing it) because authorities and businesses decided it was the easiest way to “accommodate” the demands of Muslims.

The Islamic jihad has many faces. Terrorism is only one.

    Milhouse in reply to Radegunda. | October 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Likewise, people all over Britain are eating halal meat (often without realizing it) because authorities and businesses decided it was the easiest way to “accommodate” the demands of Muslims.

    I’ve got news for you: people all over America are eating kosher-slaughtered meat without realizing it, because the economics of the kosher industry make it a sensible way to do business. No authorities of any kind are involved in this “accommodation”, it’s a simple business decision.

    Kosher slaughter involves a lot of rejects, which go to the non-kosher market; not only are animals rejected because the cut wasn’t clean, or a nick was found on the knife, or there was something wrong with the animal’s lungs, etc., but even in perfect animals the back half (where all the good meat is) is sold as non-kosher. Since the meat is indistinguishable from non-kosher, there’s no reason for its origin to be disclosed on the label, so it isn’t, just as other irrelevant facts are not disclosed, such as the animal’s color, or where it was raised, or what its slaughterer had for breakfast.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Milhouse. | October 11, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      I prefer to eat kosher than to eat halal. As a Christian, most Jews may not love me, but they don’t want to kill me. They don’t tell me “convert, pay dhimmi tax, or die”. They don’t destroy the NT that I’ve heard of. Besides, Judaism isn’t a blood cult.

Does Hillary like bacon?

    userpen in reply to Old0311. | October 11, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    That’s a porker of a question! I smiled when I read it.

    The answer is, I do not know if she likes bacon, but all she would have to do to to find out if bacon likes her is look in the mirror.

    Ragspierre in reply to Old0311. | October 11, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    She HAS displayed a strong aversion to the whole idea of killing pigs.

    So, there’s that…

I want to see the “surveys”. I have this strange feeling they either don’t exist or show the opposite of what they’re claiming.

If you read the article, you’ll see that the popularity of pork items has been declining for some time, and they’d already been down to only two items on the menu. That probably means they weren’t buying in large enough volume to get serious price breaks.

My guess is that the preference survey is weighted, so more weight is given to someone who expresses a very strong preference against pork than to someone who expresses only a mild preference for it. Suppose prisoners are asked to rank various items on a -5 to +5 scale. Now consider the large number of Moslem prisoners, as well as Rastafarians and other non-pork-eaters, together with the vegetarians and vegans, all of whom would give pork products a -5. Meanwhile few prisoners would be giving them a +5; they probably get a lot of +1s and +2s.

The logical thing would be to survey only those who are eating a regular diet, not those who are getting a special diet anyway. That would eliminate some of that effect. But not most of it, because most of these prisoners would not be so religious as to sign up for special meals; most would be trying to adapt the regular diet to their preferences, more or less, depending on how religious they feel that day. So the effect would still be there even in a well-designed survey.

    I seriously doubt the survey was actually done, much less well done.

    mekender in reply to Milhouse. | October 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Article says they dropped the menu down to just 2 pork products about 2 years ago, my bet is they probably had ham on the breakfast menu every so often and pork chops on the dinner menu… Both of which are damn good if made right and absolutely horrible if made wrong or left to sit on a serving line for too long… So my bet is that the survey asked what the favorite meals were and those two were on the bottom of the list because they are awful if not made right.

The unintended consequence of this is that most federa; prisoners will come to hate Muslims.

Sammy Finkelman | October 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Maybe somebody rigged the poll.

I make over 100 lbs of bacon every year. Some of the most frequent bacon beggars are my biker buddies who have done time. They also chow down on the 200 or more pounds of Italian and bratwurst sausage we make for our parties. We eat at my house so much pork in the form of legs, bellies. loins shoulders, jowls, liver and back fat that I joke to the wife that the only way a pig can get out of my kitchen is through an asshole, hers, mine or the dog’s. Pork is a very popular meat and I think this is another instance of the government lying.

The world before Muslims decided to be a PITA was great. Jews would sell cornbeef on rye, and some would inhale the bacon as soon as you finished cooking it. The Jews never said you must eat as we do because we don’t eat as you do—unless you dined at a Jewish home. Muslims are like vegans and enviro wackos—Nazis. It’s not enough that they don’t eat a thing; you met not eat it either. We are looking at Obama’s continued islamicization of the USA.

IMO, you’re in jail, you eat what’s on the menu, a la Arpaio. Y don’t want to eat jail food, don’t do crime,

This not due to the Muslims,it is the fault of all 3 of the Jewish prisoners in the federal prison system.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to dmi60ex. | October 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    You mean Bernie Madoff is kicking up dust about bacon? Hell, Bernie, you took the bacon and ran with it. Whatsamattawichew?!

I would encourage this erudite company to do a little research on the differences between how animals are slaughtered in a kosher environment and a halal environment. There is a huge difference which changes the chemistry of the meat produced. Lest my biases are too forward, I’ll leave it to you the gentle reader to investigate.

Occam’s razor: Obama is a Muslim.

Getting ready to close Guantanamo I bet. Don’t want to offend the Muslim world when they come to a U.S. prison that serves pork.

From re-naming Mount McKinley to banning pork consumption in federal prisons, it is reassuring to know that Obozo the Vain, the demagogue-hustler extraordinaire, is committed to tackling the most urgent and pressing issues facing the United States!!!

“Try eating in public during daylight in the midst of Ramadan in a Muslim country. Things ain’t gonna go well for you.”

If this is true today it’s very sad, as 15 years ago you could easily dine in daylight hours in Egypt during Ramadan with no problems at all. A shame as the local food is excellent.

If prison conditions create problems for people’s peculiar preferences, might I humbly suggest they avoid criminal activity?

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time – and that’s the name of that tune.

What the hell are they doing giving bacon to federal inmates anyway?

Bacon is a glorious food that should be reserved for free people.

Is this really about bacon, or some sort of canned, processed pork food product that they pass for ham in the pen?

the feds gleefully force obamacare, gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, etc down our throats, but they claim to care what prison inmates want to eat? balderdash.

Pork is too expensive. Massive demand from Congressmen.