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Santa Barbara County Jail food criticized

Food served at the Santa Barbara County Jail has been criticized by some inmates and their family members, and Santa Barbara Supervisors received an update today about the monthly menu items.

Commander Darren Fotheringham researched the procedures behind the jail food plan.

He says they meet health code regulations, and provide an adult with a healthy normal daily does of vitamins and calories.

The jail food is provided through Aramark Correctional Services, which also serves meals at many other jails and prisons in California.

Some criticism has come to the table from those who say recently soy based protein has replaced animal proteins, such as red meat, and portion sizes have shrunk.

The county says it serves three meals daily. Two are cold meals which include items such as cereal and sandwiches. One is a hot meal such as a casserole. Vegetables are also served daily. Special meals are prepared for inmates with medical conditions or approved dietary requirements.

On holidays such as Thanksgiving, the jail serves turkey.

The meals are not served “cafeteria” style. They are brought by the jail staff to the inmates housing areas, or cells.

Fotheringham says over 3000 meals a day are served to inmates, sometimes as early as 5 a.m. prior to a bus trip to court.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting one resident who was familiar with the jail menu, said the meal was “unacceptable” and like “someone vomited on a tray.”

Andy Caldwell with COLAB told the critics, “If you don’t like the food, don’t come back.”

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