In a move applauded by The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and questioned by The National Pork Producers Council, the Obama administration has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to remove all pork products from the menu in its 122 federal prisons. Over 200,000 inmates will feel the impact at all three meals a day, including breakfast when “bacon and eggs” will no longer be served.

Although pork, especially bacon, is enjoying massive popularity in both fast food chains and gourmet restaurants, the government is claiming that prisoners rate it lower than any other food.

“Why keep pushing food that people don’t want to eat?” a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons asked. He added that the price of pork has become too expensive for the government to purchase in bulk.

The National Pork Producers Council expressed skepticism. “We find it hard to believe that a survey would have found a majority of any population saying, ‘No thanks, I don’t want any bacon’” said spokesman Dave Warner adding that they are not ruling out any options in addressing the abrupt change in the menu.

Warner said that the ban will harm the pork industry, which is a major contributor to the overall U.S. economy. More than 67,000 pork producers marketed more than 112 million hogs in 2013, with total gross receipts of $23.4 billion.

In addition, the pork industry adds over a half-million jobs to the economy and contributes $39 billion to the gross national product.

The government claims the decision was not an effort to accommodate the religious beliefs of Muslim inmates who are prohibited by the Quran from eating pork and while CAIR welcomed the new policy that in effect imposes Muslim dietary restrictions on all inmates regardless of their religious affiliation, it claims the organization did not officially request the change.

Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, “It helps with the accommodation of Muslim and Jewish inmates who don’t eat pork, but we’ve never requested that the Bureau of Prisons remove pork from all of its menus. We would have no reason to.” Hooper added that he hopes the move isn’t “an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.”

CAIR’s spokesman also spoke out claiming that “anti-Islam groups would spin the decision to appear that the government succumbed to pressure from Muslims.
“This is just the kind of thing that drives them crazy. It will stoke the fires of Islamophobia based on the usual conspiracy theories.”


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