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Inmates blast Aramark, Kent County sheriff for food poisoning incidents

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Jack Amick
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A handful of former inmates at the Kent County jail are suing the sheriff and food service provider Aramark.

The case stems from a food-borne illness. One afternoon, in April 2012, at least a couple hundred inmates at the Kent County Jail got really sick. The culprit? Bad chicken tacos.

Court documents say they suffered pain, cramps, diarrhea and “long-term adverse health consequences” that’s weren’t detailed.

The inmates claim the sheriff should have anticipated problems when he hired Aramark. They say it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The inmates blame the sheriff for hiring Aramark despite the company’s history, the lawsuit says. Kent County hired Aramark long before Michigan contracted with the company for food service in state prisons.

Aramark has been criticized for its performance with the state contract, with incidents including maggot-infested potatoes, food shortages, and employees smuggling contraband and having sex with inmates. A state official says there haven’t been any problems lately.

An official from the Kent County Jail says they haven’t had any similar problems with Aramark since 2012.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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