Prison Voice Washington has received concerns from those incarcerated under the Washington Department that DOC CI Food Services Newsletter Sept 2018 Publication No. 700-NE002, which was recently posted in living units for the incarcerated, contains a half-page article from DOH on carbohydrates but 2.5 pages of concerning material entitled “What is a Processed Food? You Might Be Surprised!” put out by an outfit called the International Food Information Council Foundation, which is a front group for a trade association of processed food manufacturers including Pepsi, Coke, Nestle, and so on. Many misleading statements in this article run directly contrary to the DOC’s duty, the DOH Healthy Nutrition Guidelines, and the state’s mission under Executive Order 13-06 to encourage Washingtonians to eat meals cooked from scratch and to ‘use less processed foods that do not contain added sugar and sodium’. Against that recommendation, this newsletter claims ‘that processing foods often makes them safer’, that ‘some processed foods may actually aid with weight management’, that ‘numerous processed foods could be considered “natural”‘, etc., all in the interest of supporting the contention that food processing ‘gives us an abundant, safe, convenient, affordable, and nutritious food supply.’
It is Prison Voice Washington’s understanding that this newsletter was intended to help incarcerated people make healthy choices. To address the misinformation that has already gone out, we encourage the Washington Department of Corrections and Correctional Industries to print and post a retraction article in all living units, acknowledging the fact that the International Food Information Council Foundation is a front group for processed-food manufacturers that attempts to promote consumption of their products, and that the September Food Services newsletter contained many misleading and dubious claims. We would like to see a new newsletter emphasizing that whole foods cooked from scratch are best, citing accurate public medical research that has repeatedly shown consumption of processed foods is linked to the obesity epidemic and a variety of preventable diseases, reiterating what the Healthy Nutrition Guidelines say about processed food, and advising the incarcerated to consume less processed foods that do not contain added sugar and sodium.