|Weston A. Price Foundation|
|For Immediate Release||202-363-4394|
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.
Kimberly Hartke, Publicist, The Weston A. Price Foundation