Florida Prisoner Challenges Soy Laden Diet

Weston A. Price Foundation Contact: Kimberly Hartke, Publicist
For Immediate Release 703-860-2711, cell 703-675-5557


Florida Prisoner Challenges Soy Laden Diet
Lawsuit Also Alleges Price-Gouging in Commissary Services

WASHINGTON, DC, October 26, 2011–  Honorable Judge James O. Shelfer of the Second Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee, Florida has ruled that defendants will be given a twenty-five-day extension in which to respond to the plaintiff’s multi-count complaint challenging the soy-laden diet in Florida prisons and a commissary price-gouging scheme.

The lead plaintiff, Eric D. Harris is housed at Lake Correctional Institution and is a certified civil paralegal.  He is proceeding pro se and seeking counsel to represent all plaintiffs. The case seeks to become a major class action with the plaintiffs representing prisoners, taxpayers and others.

The Weston A. Price Foundation, a leading voice on the dangers of soy foods, especially when consumed in large amounts, has offered Mr. Harris informational support, but does not currently participate in the case actively.

The plaintiffs seek an injunction against serving soy-laden meals to Florida prisoners. The lawsuit claims that feeding of soy-laden food constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of Article 1, number 17 of the Florida Constitution, as well as other state law violations.  The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants, including Keefe Commissary Network, are guilty of several consumer trade violations, which includes price gouging that has affected prisoners, Department of Corrections staff and state taxpayers. The Foundation does not take a position on the commissary claims. The case is captioned Harris et al v. Keefe Commissary Network et al, Case Number 2011 CA 000689.

The use of soy in prison meals began in mid 2009 with Florida Department of Corrections secretary attempting to lower expenses. Beginning in mid 2009, inmates began receiving a diet largely based on processed soy protein, commonly known as textured vegetable protein, with very little to no meat.  In most meals, small amounts of meat or meat by-products are mixed with 70-80 percent soy protein. Fake soy cheese has replaced real cheese and soy flour or soy protein is added to most baked goods.  Soy milk has replaced real milk. Some meals consisted of soy/TVP chunks served in gravy or a ranch type dressing. Once the complaint for the lawsuit was lodged against the defendants, the meals quickly changed, with visible soy/TVP chunks no longer served.

In mid 2009, the Weston A. Price Foundation began to hear from Florida inmates who were suffering from a myriad of serious health problems due to the large amounts of soy in the diet. Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after consumption, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain or loss, frequent infections and overt thyroid disease.

Florida inmates or taxpayers wishing to participate in the lawsuit should contact the Weston A. Price Foundation at info@westonaprice.org.

Kimberly Hartke, Publicist, The Weston A. Price Foundation,  press@westonaprice.org

6 Responses to Florida Prisoner Challenges Soy Laden Diet

  1. Cheryl Freeman says:

    Thank you for this article. I have a son who is currently incarcerated in the Florida Prison System and he’s been telling me how horrible the food is. Quite honestly, I thought that he just conning me trying to get money for food for bartering. He only eats in the cafeteria when he feels that it is something “real” to eat. Other than that he eats from the expensive canteen.

  2. Jeanne Downing says:

    human being

    I too have a son in the FL Prison System. We heard from him last night and he asked me to find out about the lawsuit against soy in the diet. Thanks for keeping this alive in the minds of people. My moma would make us tvp cutlets at least once a week when I was a child. She had been raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, who are big soy eaters. Luckily the soy was limited and i don’t think too much damage was done to our family’s health.Later in life I became a vegetarian then vegan for one year.It was horrible! I was cold & hungry all the time. I’m now eating real food again and my health is back! Yeah!
    We are able to send money to our son and he eats from the canteen. I’m worried that if we couldn’t send him money this would be like torture for him having to eat that animal food(no offence to animals).We’ll be following this closely…

  3. liz T says:

    We also have a son in a fla. prison who aksed me last night to look up SOY LADEN because they put this in the food . we have to send him money for food that he can eat because he has been getting sick for month’s . What is the Fla. prison doing to our children,can we do something about this .

  4. Randy Pillinger says:


    I have been experiencing severe stomach pains that I believe is from prison food TVP. I thought this would go away after my release but has not.

  5. Barbara Hooks says:

    I want to know if tvp has been taken out of FL prisons and if so may I get the case # as Alabama prisoners are getting sick also.

  6. Vicki says:

    I am with the Kairos Prison ministry. I visit and write to a young man who is 27 years old. He is so skinny and has lost a ton of weight in a year and a half. (since I started visiting him) He says its what they feed him. He has stomach pains and complains of being hungry all the time. He has no family to help him on his canteen. What does a person have to do to get this changed or even looked into in Florida’s prison systems? Who can I write or talk to? Does this have to go on the news or TV to get attention. Feeling helpless.

    Cape Coral FL

    Inmate at: Avon Park (FL) Correctional Institution

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