Ohio may invite inspections of prison foodservice

Following complaints including maggots in kitchen areas, Ohio is developing plans for local health inspections visits.

COLUMBUS, OHIO—Ohio's prisons agency is developing plans to invite local health inspections of each prison's food service operations in the wake of complaints about problems including maggots in kitchen areas, a corrections spokeswoman said Friday.

Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said work on the plans began Thursday. Asked about the timing and details of the inspections, she said the plans are still being finalized.

A private vendor, Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services, took over the job of feeding inmates last year. Aramark and the prisons department have said cleanliness in the food service operations is a shared responsibility.

"We continue to work with our partners at Ohio DRC to serve safe, nutritious meal to offenders at the state's 26 correctional facilities. ... The DRC notified Aramark that it is looking at all areas, including facilities and infrastructure issues, that are not under Aramark's responsibility," Aramark spokeswoman Karen Cutler said in a statement Friday.

The state has twice levied fines against Aramark. Most recently, it cited unacceptable food substitutions and shortages, continued staffing shortages and sanitation issues including maggots in food service operations at multiple prisons.