The Real Reason Costco Is Dropping This Brand Of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk might be hard to come by the next time you're at the grocery store. Costco is the latest retail giant that has vowed to stop buying Chaokoh coconut products from Thai suppliers that are allegedly using monkeys as forced labor, according to USA Today. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been investigating this issue since 2019 and found that chained-up monkeys were picking up to around 400 coconuts per day and then put into cages after they were done.

"No kind shopper wants monkeys to be chained up and treated like coconut-picking machines," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told USA Today. "Costco made the right call to reject animal exploitation, and PETA is calling on holdouts like Kroger to follow suit." Walgreens, Giant, Food Lion, and Stop & Shop have removed the coconut products from its locations, but not every store has. Target, Kroger, and Walmart are still carrying the alleged monkey-picked items.

Company gives statement on alleged monkey-picked coconut products

Eat This, Not That! reached out to Kroger about still carrying the products on its shelves. "Kroger has a longstanding commitment to responsible business practices, including the humane treatment of animals," the grocery store chain told the outlet. "We have re-engaged our suppliers, as well as other stakeholders, on this issue to re-confirm they are also protecting animal welfare."

Theppadungporn Coconut Co. Ltd, the maker of the coconut milk based out of Thailand, told USA Today it has looked into the allegations. After auditing 64 farms plantations out of 817, its report found no use of monkeys for coconut harvesting. "Following the recent news about the use of 'monkey labor' in Thailand's coconut industry, Chaokoh, one of the world's leaders in coconut milk production, reassures that we do not engage the use of monkey labor in our coconut plantations," the company wrote in a statement.

PETA has listed brands on its site that don't use monkeys for harvesting coconut products that include Daiya, DREAM Coconut Milk, and AYAM.