Commissioners end contract with food service provider at jail af - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Commissioners end contract with food service provider at jail after reported issues

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

The McLennan County Commissioner's Court voted in favor of terminating the food service provider at the McLennan County Jail and the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

McLennan County Legal Counsel Mike Dixon said ABL Management had kitchen supervision issues and did not follow menu schedules to ensure the caloric content of the meals.

According to the contract, the minimum caloric content per inmate is 2,950 and the meals service should include special menus to accommodate inmates with certain medical conditions or religious beliefs.

"The main thing I wanted to be sure that inmates could depend on their three meals a day and that whatever problems they had we need to fix them immediately," McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said.

Additional issues with the company included, inmates reporting the food not being as appetizing as it could be, according to Dixon. 

According to the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, one complaint was filed earlier this week, stating inmates were being served spoiled food and were getting sick.

"Contrary to some of the rumors going around, I don't believe any rotten food was served. We did have an instance where there was a meal didn't smell appetizing and was rejected," Dixon said. "There is no confirmation that it contained any expired or rotten content."

He added the issues with the food may have been a result of the ingredients used or the method of cooking. 

"Whatever the case, it was unacceptable," Dixon said.

Felton said officials did not find anyone was getting sick because of the food.

"I'm not aware of anyone having a medical issue or whatsoever," Felton said.

Dixon said before taking this decision, the county gave the company chances to improve. He added ABL Management and the county agreed to end the contract on February 13th instead of September 30th. According to county officials, ABL will pay the county $10,000 for ending the contract early.

An ABL Management spokeswoman issued a statement about the termination of the contract:

"Although the partnership between ABL and the County is dissolving, we are committed to working with the jail administration to assist in the transition to a new provider."

Aramark, which was the next lowest bidder after ABL, will take over the contract next month and serve meals at both jails until September of 2018.

"[It's] a national reknown company that has contract with Baylor University, Midway and La Vega High School so they gave good recommendations and we feel comfortable going the way we are going," Felton said.

The county will have to pay a few extra cents for every inmate meal with its new provider.

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