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Prison system to appeal kosher food rulings

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In the latest move in a long-running legal battle, the Florida Department of Corrections has given notice it will appeal rulings by a federal judge about providing kosher food to prisoners.

The department filed a notice Friday that it will take the case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

The notice did not provide details of the state's arguments, but it cited orders issued in April and August by U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz. The August rulings, in part, granted federal officials' request to monitor kosher meals, called the "Religious Dietary Program," through visits to prisons.

Seitz also required the Department of Corrections to file monthly reports about the use of the program with the court and the U.S. Department of Justice and to file quarterly reports about prisoners suspended or removed from the program.

The appeal comes after more than a decade of fighting about prisons providing kosher meals to inmates who want to follow religious diets. That includes Jewish, Muslim and Seventh-Day Adventist prisoners.

The Justice Department filed the lawsuit in 2012, with Seitz ordering in April that the corrections agency provide the meals.