MANCHESTER — Inmates at the Valley Street jail refused to leave their cells to eat dinner Sunday when rumors spread that an insect, which turned out to be a burned piece of turkey, was found in an inmate’s meal, the jail superintendent said Monday.
The fasting followed two discoveries of worms in jail food over the last 10 months, since Hillsborough County signed a contract with a company that specializes in supplying food to correctional facilities, said Superintendent David Dionne.
Dionne said the company — Trinity Food Services — told him it changed its supplier after he complained about the second bug.
The first was a corn weevil found in frozen corn. The second was a worm found in a grain product, he said.
Dionne said 220 dinners were prepared at the jail on Sunday. He said inmates wouldn’t leave their cells to eat them.
On Monday morning, they decided to eat.
“We sat down and spoke with them. They understood we’re looking at it,” Dionne said.
He said Valley Street jail has a commercial kitchen, and a piece of turkey was likely burned when it was being cooked in a big skillet.
“I’m thinking that we burned the food,” he said.
He stressed the bugs were not from the jail. Dionne brought in a technician from the pest company the jail contracts with and he identified the bug was not native to New Hampshire.
Dionne said Hillsborough County contracted with Trinity about 10 months ago. Previously, the Department had ordered and purchased the food on its own.
Trinity supplies all the food as well as nutrition and dietitian services, he said.
Dionne said he did not have the dates of the bug discoveries readily available. But they were not recent, he said.
According to its website, the St. Louis-based TKC Holdings owns Trinity Food Service. The website said Trinity supplies food to more than 300,000 inmates in more than 40 states and territories.
The company also owns Keefe Group, which supplies food and personal care items to the corrections industry, and Courtesy Products, which provides coffee service to hotels and motels.
An email to the company seeking comment for this article was not immediately returned.