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Cheese has got to be the best creation since sliced bread. And don’t even get me started on what happens when you put those two delectable items together. Mmmm grilled cheese. Before you get as excited as I am about the topic of melted cheese, know this–that fancy cheese you like to spend your rent money on at Whole Foods is being 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.

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Yeah, so that idea in your head that only license plates are made in prison, think again. These days, prisoners churn out more than you know: apple juice, tilapia, flowers and they even manage vineyards. What’s worse is that the prisoners only get about 60 cents an hour.

We all know prison labor is free labor. Prisons are private industries that must be at 90 percent capacity at all times, whatever the cost because profit is the name of the game. And where there is profit, there is greed. The prison is of course greedy as they keep the system filled with people, mostly of color by means of unfair policing practices, racial profiling, false arrests and false imprisonment. The cycle continues and our people continue to be a part of modern-day slavery, churning out artisan cheeses for Whole Foods customers.

Not to profile, but it seems that the people who shop at Whole Foods are also people who care about the world and the people in it, or at least pretend to. Or maybe the taste of your smoked aged grass fed cow gouda will mask the bad taste in your mouth from knowing your cheese was made in prison. Bon appetit.



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Bon Appetit: Do You Get Your Cheese From Whole Foods? Well, A Prisoner Made It  was originally published on