Home News Food/Drink Whole Foods Cheese Is Made Using Prison Labor
Whole Foods Cheese Is Made Using Prison Labor

Whole Foods Cheese Is Made Using Prison Labor


Whole Foods shoppers who imagine that their expensive artisanal cheese is made on a quaint rural farm by happy workers may be surprised to discover that the cheese is really made by prison inmates. According to Fortune, Colorado cheese maker Haystack Mountain gets their milk from a goat farm run by Colorado Corrections Industries (CCI), where 1,000 goats are milked by six inmates twice a day. This is becoming a commonplace practice, as “nationwide 63,032 inmates produce more than $2 billion worth of products a year,” according to Forbes.

And it’s not just license plates that are being made in prison. Today, inmates “produce apple juice, raise tilapia, milk cows and goats, grow flowers, and manage vineyards.” CCI pays only 60 cents per hour for the inmates’ labor, although some manage to earn a whopping $3-400 a month. These extremely low wages have drawn fire from many critics, who feel that inmates are being exploited by being paid so little to make pricey consumer commodities.

Now, a Whole Foods cheese shopper not only has to consider what kind of cheese they want, but also whether they believe prison labor is giving an inmate a chance to learn some life skills, or exploiting them to make a quick buck.

  • Dean

    What an absolutely stupid perspective. I am assuming that revenues from the produced items offset the costs of incarceration. My issue is that they pay inmates anything at all. …unless those monies, too, are levied to pay for the costs of housing the inmate.

  • http://weev.livejournal.com/ Andrew Auernheimer

    I was falsely imprisoned for 14 months of a 41 month sentence until my appeal was processed and my conviction vacated. I was then released. While I was in prison, I was subject to forced labor in conditions that violated my human rights. I was forced to work in hours that deprived me of sleep. For extended periods I was getting as little as 2 hours of sleep per day. I personally think that everyone that is involved in profiting from the process of slavery, from prison employees to corporate executives, should be killed along with their children. Death to all tyrants and their families.



  • DontThinkBeforeTyping

    The only person on here with a dumber perspective than you is Andrew Auernheimer.

  • upton

    Yes, how terrible for him to have ACTUALLY EXPERIENCED this, and still deign to have an opinion about it.

  • upton

    Though I should add that I completely agree with you about Dean’s complete lack of insight, compassion, awareness, and basic logic.

  • Hasanda

    My Marine husband just told me Fort Leavenworth is a potato farm … wOw… wonder who the potato chip company is…

  • Red

    You mean hardcore Libertarians will do anything and I mean ANYTHING to make a cent over the competition? Someone! Come knock me over with a feather!

  • Spencer

    Taxpayers are spending billions a year for the correction system to feed those convicts, then a bit labor would be too much for them?

  • annoyed

    The consumer is being exploited, not the inmates. Unbelievable. Not a first from whole foods either.

  • knute5

    Killing execs and kids is over the top, but if his story’s true, doesn’t he have every right to be pissed? Can’t image being essentially enslaved, even for a year…

  • My name is

    I am so glad that you lost your right to vote. A person who believes that children should be killed because of their parents crimes shouldn’t have a voice in our society.

  • http://weev.livejournal.com/ Andrew Auernheimer

    Actually, because my conviction was vacated, I am not a felon anymore. I can vote and own guns. The Bible says “prepare slaughter for the iniquities of their fathers”. The families of tyrants should be wiped off the face of the earth.

  • (҂⌣̀_⌣́)ᕤ BUN BUSTER

    Oh wow you’re actually suggesting we should do something vs one of the most immoral and powerful people in the world? That these living feudal dynasties should be purged? I’m sorry but that’s too much for me, now excuse me as I furiously advocate for the death penalty for our broken criminal system. I’m a 60 year old white male and when I’m finally dead from this world, the rest of the population can actually get about to fixing all my dumb fuck ups. Generations will literally piss on my grave.

  • (҂⌣̀_⌣́)ᕤ BUN BUSTER

    Agreed, how dare the peasantry speak their mind in passion. Tut tut.

  • Carnot Antonio Romero

    About the only way this could be ethical is if the prisoners were set up with savings accounts where additional wages were built up, so that when they came out of prison they’d have some resources to help get them started in life again.

  • Eventide Parfait

    Are they doing this of their own accord? IF they are, I don’t really see a problem.

  • Justinian

    Are you against minimum wage?

  • Forrest Franks

    Only if they are at least paid minimum wage.

  • Eventide Parfait

    I like the idea of a maximum wage, which would, at the least, put more money in the hands of the consumer, if not cause lower level employees to have wage increases…

  • Len Xibipiio

    you have much in common with the dictator of north korea.
    i’m sorry about the injustice of your prison experience, but you are a cruel and thoughtless person if you cannot see the injustice of your idea to punish children for their parents misdoings.

  • Keeler

    You’re missing the point. Who can compete with labor costs of 60 cents per hour and little to no overhead? This practice is killing small businesses across the country. And turning our prisons into slave labor camps. Considering these private for profit prisons mandate an 80-90% occupancy rate or they sue the state, you can see the problem. It’s not a matter of whether or not prisoners should work, it’s a matter of they are taking your jobs for the profits of corporations.

  • Viktoria R. Medicine Elk

    The overhead is being paid by the US taxpayers to maintain the inmates, just as corporations like Walmart pass on their overhead costs to the US taxpayers by paying wages that make them eligible for food stamps and Medicaid. This is the new American slavery; when is the next Civil War coming to free everyone?

  • getallthefacts

    Some companies, given a choice of having cheap things made overseas for less money than even having them made here in the America prisons, send the product contract to the prison only so they can stamp Made In America on the label and make more money.