Whole Foods to stop selling products produced by Colorado inmates

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An exterior image of Whole Foods Market in Reno, Nevada.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods said Wednesday it will end the practice of selling products made using a Colorado prison labor program.

The company said the products are expected to be out of its stores by April. The grocery chain has sold tilapia, trout and goat cheese produced through a Colorado inmate program at some stores since at least 2011, The Associated Press reported.

Whole Foods spokesman Michael Silverman told the AP the program was a way to “help people get back on their feet and eventually become contributing members of society.”

But after complaints by customers, the company will move away from the practice.

The tilapia, trout and cheese in question come through Colorado Correctional Industries, a division of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Dennis Dunsmoor, director of the CCI program, told the AP the program doesn’t provide goods directly to Whole Foods, but its partners do. Inmates who volunteer for the program are paid 74 cents to $4 a day, and can earn performance bonuses as well, he said.

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