(JTA) — The U.S. government has sued the Florida Department of Corrections for ending its kosher meal service.
The Justice Department filed the lawsuit last week in federal District Court in Miami.
The kosher meal service was canceled in 2007. An average of 250 inmates used the kosher meal service, including Muslims, The Associated Press reported. The state now offers vegetarian and vegan options.
A Religious Dietary Study Group had advised the state not to end the kosher meal program, saying that the inmates "may either eat the non-kosher food and fail to obey his religious laws or not eat the non-kosher food and starve," Reuters reported. The expense of providing the kosher meals came to about $146,000 a year, according to the committee.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 13 current inmates.
Earlier this year, an Israeli judge ruled that an American Jewish man convicted of manslaughter while driving drunk who fled to Israel more than a decade ago could not be extradited to Florida because he would not receive kosher food while in prison.