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Wegmans Joins Costco in Pulling This Controversial Food from Shelves

An investigation prompted multiple large grocery chains to discontinue the product.

An investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) revealed that chained monkeys had been used to pick coconuts for major suppliers in Thailand. The maker of Chaokoh coconut milk was named in PETA's probe, and Costco joined other popular retailers in pulling the brand from store shelves this fall. Now, Wegmans has followed suit.

The controversial product was dropped after PETA sent video footage, thousands of e-mails from members and supporters, and "humanely picked" coconuts to Wegmans CEO, according to the organization. Wegmans spokesperson Deana Percassi confirmed to Eat This, Not That! that the coconut milk product was no longer being sold.

Related: 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback

"Milk from coconuts picked by chained monkeys doesn't belong on grocery shelves any more than monkeys belong on those chains," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. "Wegmans heard PETA's message, and now PETA is calling on Walmart and Target to join it and the thousands of other stores that reject products of forced monkey labor."

Theppadungporn Coconut Co. Ltd., the maker of Chaokoh coconut milk, issued a statement denying the allegations of abuse earlier this year after after Costco committed to stop carrying its products.

"Following the recent news about the use of 'monkey labour' 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 labour in our coconut plantations," it said at the time.

Though Wegmans joined several chains in discontinuing the product, other retailers like Kroger, Target, and Walmart have not done so. Kroger said it had "re-engaged our suppliers, as well as other stakeholders, on this issue to re-confirm they are also protecting animal welfare" in a statement to Eat This, Not That! Target and Walmart did not respond to requests for comment.

In addition to this coconut milk you won't find at Wegmans anymore, here are 17 foods you should never buy there, either.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda
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