Whole Food's cheese is made by prison inmates

Use of incarcerated workers in small and boutique businesses is a new development


By C1 Staff

DENVER, Colo. — Whole Foods shoppers might reconsider the cheese aisles once they find out that their artisanal dairy products are created with prison inmate labor.

Business Insider reports that Colorado goat cheese maker Haystack Mountain employs workers through Colorado Corrections Industries (CCI).

Twice a day, six inmates milk 1,000 goats on a prison-run farm. They get a base salary of 60 cents per day, but most earn $300 - $400 a month.

The milk is turned into cheese at a different, non-inmate-involved facility and then sold to Whole Foods and other retail outlets.

“Nationwide, 63,032 inmates produce more than $2 billion worth of products a year, most of them sold to government entities,” Forbes reports. The use of incarcerated workers in small and boutique businesses is a new development, spearheaded by states like Colorado and California.

These days, inmates produce apple juice, raise tilapia, milk cows and goats, grow flowers and manage vineyards.

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