In order to keep food costs down, the Florida prison system routinely substitutes about half of the meat product in inmates' meals with soy. But one inmate, Eric Harris, currently serving a life sentence for committing sexual battery on a young child, is suing the state, claiming that forcing him to eat soy constitutes "cruel and unusual" punishment.
Florida prisons began using soy in most of their meals in 2009. Inmates are served meals that are about 50 percent actual meat and 50 percent soy. Without the soy substitute, the cost to taxpayers could double.
Now, The Orlando Sentinel reports that Harris has filed a lawsuit with the assistance of an anti-soy group.
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"These men are guinea pigs who are being fed high levels of soy," Kimberly Hartke, a spokeswoman for the Weston A. Price Foundation, tells the Sentinel.
Harris claims that the soy leads to painful intestinal cramping and could damage his thyroid and immune system. Though there's been some controversy about soy, (including one guy who apparently thinks it makes boys gay) most nutritionists see nothing wrong with eating the protein-supplement. Florida prisons also do offer non-soy-based meals to inmates, which usually include peanut butter or beans.