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Potatoes for prison discarded after maggots found

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MUNISING, Mich. (AP) — Officials have discarded more than 4,000 pounds of potatoes at Alger Correctional Facility in Michigan's Upper Peninsula after maggots were found in a shipment from a food supplier.

The maggots were found last Wednesday, The Mining Journal of Marquette and WLUC-TV reported. The potatoes were from a supplier for Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services, which handles prison food service in Michigan and elsewhere.

"We have told our local Michigan supplier that this is completely unacceptable and does not meet our high quality standards," Aramark spokeswoman Karen Cutler said in a statement. "The president of the produce company is personally investigating the situation and has agreed to allow a third party auditor to inspect his facility."

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said the potatoes weren't served or brought to the kitchen area.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's administration is approaching a decision on possibly reconsidering Aramark's 3-year, $145 million contract. Earlier this year, Michigan officials reported two incidents of maggots found in a prison's food service area in Jackson.

In Ohio, maggots in food, staffing shortages and reports of running out of main and side dishes are among recent complaints against Aramark. At issue is a bigger national debate over privatizing prison services — from food preparation to the running of entire facilities — to save money at a time of squeezed state budgets.

Proponents say private industry can often do the job more efficiently and more cheaply, unencumbered by union and administrative rules, while opponents say a focus on the bottom line leads to cutting corners that creates danger for inmates and employees.

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