Food Service

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Cook/Chill Centralized Food Service in Corrections
By Louise E. Mathews, Chief of Food Services, San Diego County, California, Sheriffs Department capacity of 2,345. In 1989, these facilities were holding up to 4,500 inmates-and the numbers were climbing-giving San Diego the dubious distinction of being the most overcrowded system in the country. To determine more effective ways of handling the increasing number of inmates, the county commissioned two external feasibility studies (1985 and 1989), as well as an internal study. With respect to food service, the findings of all the studies supported the creation of a centralized cook/chill system for the county’s facilities. There are two basic methods of cook/chill: cryo-vat (tumble
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The 38,000-square-foot center will encompass the latest developments in cook/chill technology, as well as a state-of-the-art bakery and a specially designed computer system.

production center will initially serve 2,000 staff and inmates; however, it is designed to eventually produce 29,000 meals per day to accommodate 7,000 inmates and staff in the proposed honor camps and jails on the Otay Mesa site. San Diego is one of the first correctional agencies to use cook/chill processing, and will be the first to adopt a system of pre-packing entrees. As a recent feasibility study has shown, with some additions and modifications the food production center would

San Diego County. The technique has enabled some private industries to reduce labor costs by 40 percent. But most important, central food processing will allow the department to provide high-quality service in a consistent and professional manner. For further information contact Louise E. Mathews, Chief of Food Services, by writing to her at the Los Colinas Detention Center, 9000 Cottonwood Avenue, Santee, California, 92040, or call (619) 258-3210. n

The facility will also feature a complete cold production center for preparing such foods as salads, vegetables, and sandwiches, and a tray line assembly system. A larger, separate ingredient control area will include more than 3,000 square feet of freezer capacity and 4,000 square feet of dry storage. By enabling
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