Inmates sick after maggots found in prison cafeteria

JACKSON, Mich.—About 30 prisoners at a Michigan correctional facility are being treated for symptoms consistent with food poisoning after maggots and fly larvae were discovered in one of the meal serving lines, an official confirmed Monday.

But a spokeswoman for Aramark Correctional Services, Michigan's prison food contractor, said there is no evidence linking the discovery of the maggots to the outbreak of illness.

The maggots were discovered Friday in a crack along one of the meal serving lines at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson. They were seen "a couple inches from where the food trays are located," Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan told the Detroit Free Press.

"We don't believe the maggots got into the food, but finding them that close to where food trays sit during serving periods is a serious and significant sanitary issue," he said.

It's the latest food-related problem since the state turned over its food service to a private contractor, Aramark Correctional Services of Philadelphia, in December.

"I can never recall this type of thing happening" in the past, Marlan said.

On Saturday, several prisoners reported to health care with symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, headaches and fatigue, and about 30 inmates are currently being treated, Marlan said.

"We don't believe they are faking," he said.

Karen Cutler, a spokeswoman for Aramark, said the maggots were discovered before food was served on Friday and "there are no facts that show food played any role in the illnesses reported over the weekend, or is connected in any way to today's pest issue."

Aramark "immediately notified the DOC maintenance department which will make all necessary repairs to the serving line," she said.