The federal government has removed bacon, pork chops, ham, and all other pig products from the menu at its 122 federal prisons, impacting the nation’s 206,000 federal inmates.
The Washington Post reported that the ban went into effect when the new fiscal year began last week. According to the Bureau of Prisons, the decision was made after surveys revealed that inmates do not like the taste of pork. The bureau runs the country’s federal penitentiaries, which includes providing inmates with three meals per day.
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"Why keep pushing food that people don’t want to eat? Pork has been the lowest-rated food by inmates for several years," Edmond Ross, spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, said. He added that pork products have also become more expensive.
While federal prisons no longer serve pork, their menus have added an "economically viable" turkey bacon substitute in fiscal year 2016, a result of people becoming "more health conscious," Ross explained.
"People are more health conscious these days. Some people choose to be vegetarian or vegan. That’s their preference," the spokesman stated.
Pork producers are pushing back on the decision.
"I find it hard to believe that a survey would have found a majority of any population saying, ‘No thanks, I don’t want any bacon,’" Dave Warner, spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, said. "We’re going to find out how this came about and go from there. We wouldn’t rule out any options to resolve this."
Warner claimed that the trade association representing the country’s hog farmers, "is still formulating our strategy" to combat the ban.
"Not to throw beef under the bus, but we cost a lot less than beef," Warner said.