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The Food-Stuffs of Bengal Jail Dietaries.

     The food materials in use in the Bengal Jail dietaries are all derived from the
vegetable kingdom; so that, for the time during which they are under confinement,
the prisoners are strict vegetarians. No animal food of any kind enters into their
dietaries, except in hospital and in certain circumstances which will be referred to.

     These food materials consist of rice, different dals and vegetables in Lower
Bengal, and rice, wheat ata or makkai ata (maize), different dals (pulses) and vege-
tables in Behar. The rice in use is of two kinds—Burma rice and Country rice.
Burma or Rangoon-rice, the so-called "white" rice, is prepared direct from the
unhusked "paddy"; it is milled by machinery and the husk together with the
pericarp and surface layers of the seed is removed. The result is a clean white rice
grain, deprived to some extent of its outer layers and therefore slightly also of its
protein and mineral constituents.

     Indian or Country rice is prepared by soaking the "paddy" for from twenty-
four to forty-eight hours in water, then transferring it to lightly covered cylinders
in which it is steamed for from five to ten minutes; subsequently it is removed
to open paved—usually sun-baked mud—courts and dried by exposure to
the sun. It is either stored as "paddy" or milled at once.

     The sample obtained by this process is of a yellowish-brown colour, usually
very dirty from contamination with dust and earth acquired during the drying
process. The outer layers of the grain are not lost so that, weight for weight, it
should contains more protein than Rangoon or Burma rice.

     Reference to our table of analyses of the food-stuffs will show that we did not
find the country rice to contain a higher percentage of protein than Burma rice.
This is probably due to the much greater contamination of the former with foreign
material. Our analyses represent the composition of the food materials as
received from the different jails, and as those materials are given to the prisoners.
They were not put through any preparation such as drying, cleaning, etc., but
were simply analysed as received. Rice forms by far the greater proportion of
the ordinary jail diet. The following are the scales in general use in Bengal Jails:—

  In Lower Bengal. In Behar.
Burma or Country rice 26 ozs 16 ozs.
Different dals 6 " 6 "
Vegetables 6 " 6 "
Wheat ata   10 "
or   or
Makkai ata   12 "


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