Whole Foods Market has announced that they will officially eliminate foods produced via prison labor from their supply chain.
The transition will specifically target their sourcing of goat cheese, Tilapia and trout. All three products are tied to distributors who partner with Colorado Correctional Industries, according to NPR. This program at the Colorado Department of Corrections, seeks to equip inmates with skills that could potentially be used to leverage employment opportunities after release.
However, Michael Allen, founder of End Mass Incarceration Houston, believes programs like this are covert forms of exploitation.
Allen, who organized a protest in Houston soon before the announcement by Whole Foods, was informed of the switch in policy directly by Whole Foods.
"They say they care about the community, but they're enhancing their profit off of poor people," Allen said, according to The Associated Press.
In an email to The Salt, as reported by NPR, Whole Foods spokesman Michael Silverman noted that the company liked the idea of supporting suppliers who valued getting inmates integrated into the workforce.
However, Whole Foods ultimately listened to the concerns of customers and reevaluated its sourcing.