National Guardsmen Stationed at Capitol Repeatedly Served Undercooked, Contaminated Food


Michigan National Guard soldiers stationed at the U.S. Capitol have complained about undercooked meat and contaminated food they’ve been served while providing security for civilian lawmakers.

One soldier told a lawmaker last month that the meat the soldiers were being served was almost always undercooked and sat for hours before it was served, The Detroit News reported.

“Multiple soldiers have been getting sick and vomiting after eating, and most of the food is being thrown away,” according to the soldier.

“Morale is very bad; many have served overseas and cannot believe the quality of food they are being fed here.”

There have also been complaints of lack of options for vegetarians, breakfasts of a piece of fruit and a hard roll without protein and lunch arriving late.

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“What I was told is, if they had 10 meals, they were throwing four or five of them away — they couldn’t even eat them,” Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan said.

The complaints reached members of the Michigan congressional delegation and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in February, and the governor was assured the problem would be corrected.

One weekend after guard officials said the issue had been resolved, more complaints of poorly prepared and undercooked food reached Whitmer’s office.

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The service members, who are often on 12-hour shifts, are reportedly spending their own money on food because they don’t trust the food from the contractor.

“It’s not only a Michigan guard problem. I stop and talk to all the guard out there, and they said it’s improved, but still far from perfect,” Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan said.

“Ultimately, it’s the National Guard that hired the contractor — not those of us on the Hill.”

The Michigan House delegation signed a letter Tuesday asking for the National Guard to void the food service contract and find another vendor.

“It is completely unacceptable that our men and women serving in Washington D.C are being hospitalized due to the food they are being provided,” the letter read.

The National Guard said they are working to fix the problem and “the contractors know that we are watching.”

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The National Guard has been stationed in Washington since the Jan. 6 incursion into the Capitol.

There were 25,000 troops deployed for President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and 7,000 remained at the Capitol during the Senate impeachment hearings over concerns of “civil unrest.”

Michigan troops make up about 20 percent of the 5,200 guard soldiers and airmen still stationed at the Capitol to support law enforcement. Their deployment is set to end on March 12.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith