Watch People Try Nutraloaf, The Controversial Prison Food That's Been Called 'Cruel'

06/15/2015 01:34 am ET | Updated Jun 15, 2015

In many American prisons, punishment can come in the form of a bland mashed up block of food known as a “Nutraloaf” -- a controversial “food product” that’s fed to inmates who have been cited for bad behavior. Prisoners often have to eat the punitive loaves for days or even weeks at a time.

In this viral Buzzfeed video, random people were fed different kinds of Nutraloaf, and their reactions were captured on camera.

“My mouth is afraid of this food,” one man said as he skeptically eyed the slice on his plate.

“This is definitely punishment food,” said another taste-tester.


Nutraloaf comes in a variety of flavors, depending on the state where it’s served. There’s a rice, oatmeal and mashed garbanzo bean version, a non-dairy cheese and raisin combo and one that includes applesauce, garlic powder and spinach.

Regardless of the combination, Nutraloaf is universally reviled. Prisoners in several states, including Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New York and Washington, have even sued over Nutraloaf or its equivalent, claiming that the punitive food is so awful that it’s unconstitutional. Following a 2008 lawsuit in Vermont, the state’s supreme court ruled that inmates have to be given a hearing before Nutraloaf is doled out as punishment.

Earlier this month, visitors who attended Prison Food Weekend in Philadelphia were given the chance to sample Nutraloaf.

“The California Nutraloaf tasted like chewed up, cold chili,” said an employee of the historic Eastern State Penitentiary, which hosted the event, per “The Vermont Nutraloaf tasted like gross refried beans with a real smooth texture.”

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