Sickened by Soy, Illinois Prisoners Sue State

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Last Thursday Real Food Media bloggers attended the soy prison press conference in downtown Chicago. In attendance were Weston A. Price Foundation President, Sally Fallon Morell, GMO expert and author Jeffrey Smith, attorney Gary Cox, and former inmate Thomas Salonis.

According to a press release issued by the Weston A. Price Foundation:

Citing serious health conditions due to high levels of soy, inmates in the Illinois prison system are suing for a permanent injunction against the substitution of soy for meat in prison meals.

The soy-based prison diet began when Rod Blagojevich was elected governor of Illinois in 2002. Beginning in January 2003, inmates began receiving a diet largely based on processed soy protein with very little meat. In most meals, small amounts of meat or meat by-products are mixed with 60-70 percent soy protein; fake soy cheese has replaced real cheese; and soy flour or soy protein is now added to most prison baked goods.

The Weston A. Price Foundation has hired an attorney to represent several inmates incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections system. The lead case is captioned Harris et al. v. Brown, et al., Case No. 3:07-cv-03225, and is currently pending before the Honorable Harold Baker in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The suit seeks an injunction putting a halt to the use of a soy-laden diet in the prison system.

Click here to read the rest of the press release.

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What's so important about this case is that if we can set a precedent in the justice system, it will help to stop the proliferation of unhealthy soy foods in other public institutions like schools and nursing homes. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:

“Unless we can succeed in obtaining a permanent injunction against the serving of soy in prisons,” says Fallon, “we can expect to see more and more soy in institutional meals. Children are the next targets.” Fallon cites an Illinois school district pilot lunch program that is using textured soy protein instead of meat in popular dishes such as chili, spaghetti sauce, lasagna and imitation chicken nuggets.

“Soy foods and soy milk contain plant estrogens that cause endocrine disruption as well as components that block the uptake of protein and the utilization important vitamins and minerals,” says nutritionist Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food. “Consumed in large amounts, soy foods can lead to serious reproductive and thyroid problems as well as malnutrition. Soy is totally unacceptable as a major food source, especially for growing children. The Israeli Health Ministry in 2005 warned its citizens that children should not eat soy foods or drink soy milk more than once per day or more than 3 times per week. It also advised adult men to exercise caution because of adverse effects on fertility.”

I have posted four of the videos of the press conference on YouTube and shared them below. There are 10 parts total (you can watch the rest by clicking over to YouTube).

Also, here are some high resolution photos I uploaded to Flickr that you can use on your blogs. Just click on “any size” and copy and paste the code to share.

Please watch the videos, share them on blogs, via email, Facebook, and Twitter. And please stumble and tweet this post. Help us get the word out about this very important case.

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

14 thoughts on “Sickened by Soy, Illinois Prisoners Sue State

  1. Wow; thank you so much for sharing this. I’m looking forward to having some time to sit down and watch the videos. It’s really fascinating that the prison industrial complex overlaps with industrialized food systems. It’s something I wouldn’t have thought of, but it makes perfect sense.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this, I really would have liked to be at the press conference but could not get to Chicago early enough to attend. Can you post the links to all 10 videos somewhere as when I went to Youtube I had trouble figuring out which video order to watch them in and I didn’t seem to find 10 videos unless maybe some of them overlap in content??

  3. This is ridiculous! While I don’t condone making inmates ill, I believe they should be forced to be a self-sustaining community. You want a glass of milk, go milk a cow, you want a sandwich, grow the grain, mill the flour and bake the bread. They would have no time for the anti-social behaviors so common in prisons if they fell into bed every night as I do trying to feed my family and community. This is just another bandaide on a festering wound.

  4. Hardworking irate WAP farmer: If you watch the videos, you will see that milking their own cows, growing their own food, etc. is EXACTLY what Sally Fallon is recommending the prisoners do. That’s the way it was done before Big Ag got involved. The problem with that excellent system is that there is no room for greed and corruption by high prison officials… no corners to cut or influx of money to skim from in order to fill their own pockets.

  5. Jen – You are correct. Sally is proposing that they go back to the way they used to do things. In many states, the inmates do still grow/raise their own food.

    It was only after Rod Blagojevich was elected governor that they introduced the soy diet to the inmates. Archer Daniels Midland has been supplying the soy — they also contributed to Blagojevich’s campaign.

  6. Irate WAP farmer – Thank you for working as hard as you do. I am so very grateful that there are people like you that are willing to do the work so that I and others can eat real food.

    I do think that most inmates would appreciate the opportunity to grow their own food and raise their own animals. They’d learn skills that can be used once they leave prison. These inmates have no choice (unless they have the extra monies to buy other food which most don’t have) but to eat soy. Soy is poison to some inmates. No prisoner should be made to eat something that will make him so very sick. Many of these inmates will leave prison unhealthy and we taxpayers will end up paying more because we will be footing the hospital bills.

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  9. thank you for posting this. I had not heard a thing about it before. I want to watch all the videos now!

  10. please help me my son is inmate since 2003 in one of I.D.o.C he has health problems lumps on his chest stomach pain vomiting,constipated turn to diarrhea also bleeding , digestive problems, acne how do i or my son get in contact with a lawyer that is handling these lawsuit for Illinois inmates he has lot of lumps on his chest

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