Twice in the past week, maggots have been found in the food at Michigan state prisons. On June 30, the Detroit Free Press reported that maggots and fly larvae were found near the meal trays at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. Just a few days later, maggots were found in the food at Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson.
Regarding the incident at Parnall, the Corrections Department’s spokesman Russ Marlan told the Detroit Free Press that the maggots were found in a crack along the serving line “a couple inches from where the food trays are located.”
Following the discovery of the maggots at the Parnall facility, the Lansing State Journal reported that about 30 prisoners were being treated for symptoms consistent with food poisoning. However, by July 3 – just four days later – The Associated Press was reporting that the flu-like food poisoning symptoms had hit around 150 inmates. The sick prisoners were placed in quarantine and barred from seeing visitors.
Karen Cutler, a spokeswoman for the food contractor for Michigan’s state prisons, said that the illnesses could not be definitively linked to the maggots. Cutler said, “We continue to await the test results and have ordered a third-party auditor to visit every facility in the state to ensure they meet our safety and sanitation standards.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer encouraged Gov. Rick Snyder to terminate the $145-million Aramark contract, which has been a source of controversy from the start as it eliminate state jobs. Prior to the maggot issue, though, Aramark had previously been under fire for incidents of Aramark workers attempting to smuggle in contraband to inmates and showing up to work drunk. Shauer said that outsourcing the food contract “has proven to be a serious mistake that is wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and putting the lives of our corrections officers at risk.