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

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Her public relations company, Hartke Communications specializes in health and wellness clients. To book a nutrition education expert, contact Kimberly via, press@westonaprice.org.

11 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.

    • Jerry mcmullen says:

      Who do i speak with about this, I ate this stuff for over 3 yrs and had the most painful rash over 90 percent of my body and pissed blood and after my release in experiencing joint pain and stomach pain constantly. I was released in 2013 in florida

  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.

    • Stephen Grogan says:

      I was just released from FLDOC in 2014 and thankfully, I had only 2 years of dealing with the food issue.

      Yes, TVP is in all three meals in the normal day. Whether it is soy flour pan busicuts topped with TVP chunks and gravy; or white sandwich bread with a side of TVP chunks, shredded soy cheese, and a black pool with a few black beans in it (splattered over whole tray) as that is lunch; or a dinner that consists of a soy patty that they have three different names for but is seriously the same exact thing.. are food was way over laden-ed with some form of soy.

      they do allow you to have an alternate meal if you dont agree with the one they happen to be serving at that time but, let me warn you. nutrient wise, i see no better in the alternate then the regular. it will mostly and usually always be three slots on your tray filled with the black beans. and their version of a salad is (and im very serious) a few pieces of lettuces (if your lucky, it was usually cabbage) with an oil vinaigrette over it. BUT!!! the worst part about all your Vegi and green sides!!! is that they 75-80% of the time have rocks and such in them, and you will break your teeth, which takes about 2 years to get fixed.

      So now that they got you all mal-nourished and deprived, they make you go outside into the yard for most part of the day with no shade in the Florida heat all to finally let you inside around 3 pm just to sit in a 100ft by 20ft room with 71 other guys and NO sort of forced air.

      i didnt go to prison thinking i would be in motel six or more. but there is some things we must not ignore when we have people (like you or me) living in this standard. We did make choices to where our peers thought we were not fit to be in the world, and i don’t stand here to say my charge was any better or worse then the next. but even a law we find ridiculous or even outdated CAN still be broken and those few or many are forced to lived in this machine we call the department

      Florida alone spends just over 20k a year to house, feed and clothe inmates. and the average Joe working a minimum wage job makes 12-15k a year. there is something seriously wrong with this, its a failed system. and we as the people need to do something about it. our justice system reflects the idea that there isn’t enough security, and no matter what laws are in place, we will still have the free will and the people whom cant walk that straight line that will eventually step out of place and the only thing we get to look forward to is the fact that we might loose a small, large or all of our life as we know it because we keep making laws to punish and not help direct.

      we have given up our rights for security, and when the day comes when we feel we have rights, is the day security will tell us we don’t.

  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

    • Stephen Grogan says:

      i was at avon park in 2012-2014, that prison was heading in a very bad direction when i left there. and all we can do is encourage others to take a look themselves as to what is happening, its because of societies cant see, dont care policy that allows this to continue. i wish i was able to do more, i have a good friend in there, and its not common you can go to prison and say you have made friends, but this one guy has no family (like what you were saying) and no help, his charges where not fit for the punishment and i will be there for him every step of the way.

  7. Merlynne Taylor says:

    I wish someone would do something about it in the Missouri DOC They also serve their inmates soy (in various forms) for 3 meals a day. Prisoners get no medical help for their complaints. The few (very few) medical personnel who care tell them to avoid it by buying their own food in the canteen. Too many prisoners’ families cannot afford to send them enough money to buy the prison’s overpriced canteen offerings. My fiance is incarcerated in Missouri, and is having terrible health issues, but nothing gets done, except that he is mostly ridiculed and/or threatened to keep his mouth shut. These inmates may have broken laws, but they are human beings.

    I would like to know the results of the Florida and Illinois class action suits concerning the soy diet issue.

  8. Angi says:

    My brother was taken into State custody and spent 10 weeks in RMC in Lake Butler and has been transfered to Jefferson Correctional this week. He had gastric bypass 5 years ago and lost 450 pounds before he began having serious complications. His surgically altered stomach became ulcerative and detached requiring a temp fix and blood transfusions. Any way, the county jail took him to some quack doctors to sign that he was fine to wait until after his 13 month incarceration to have surgery. He can’t eat anything. He’s vomited completely undigested food from every meal and lost another 20 pounds the first 2 weeks. I’m working a 2nd full time job so I can pay for his canteen and pay for his meds and doctor visits because as soon as you deposit funds the institution automatically withdraws what they say they are owed. We’ve yet to see any kind of accounting for the charges and they take money every week.

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