The Department of Labor opened investigations into Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms after reports emerged of grueling working conditions for children at the companies’ facilities.
“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is currently investigating Perdue and Tyson Foods. As the investigation is ongoing, no further details can be provided,” said a Ministry of Labor spokesperson CBS News.
The federal investigation into poultry producers comes after an explosive report published in New York Times Magazine That focused on the disturbing details of a 14-year-old boy who came to Virginia from Guatemala to support his family by working the night shift at a Perdue factory. According to the article, his arm was nearly torn off while working in a slaughterhouse.
The article also documented other cases of children doing similar work at the Perdue plant as well as at a nearby Tyson plant. These two companies produce every three pounds of poultry consumed in the United States, the article says.
Federal law restricts Persons under the age of 16 are prohibited from working during certain hours, and minors are prohibited from working in meat processing plants due to the dangerous conditions.
The Independent has contacted the Department of Labor, Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms.
a spokesman for Perdue said CBS News that the company was “appalled” by allegations of illegal child labor.
“We take the legal employment and safety of everyone who works at our facilities very seriously and have strict, long-standing policies for Perdue employees to prevent minors from engaging in dangerous work in violation of the law,” the spokesperson said . “We recognize the systemic nature of this problem and accept any role we can play in solving it.”
However, Tyson told the outlet that it had not learned of an investigation, so the company had no comment.
The NYT Magazine One article reported that poultry producers hired contractors to hire cleaning staff – a way to avoid responsibility for circumventing child labor laws.
A food hygiene company was recently fined $1.5 million for employing over 100 children on night shifts at meat processing plants across the country, a Labor Department investigation found in February.
Labor Ministry Chief Legal Officer Seema Nanda said New York Times The Biden administration is now examining whether the larger companies can be held accountable.
“We are long past the day when brands can say they don’t know there is child labor in their supply chain,” Ms Nanda said. “The intention is to ensure that those further up the supply chain hold their subcontractors and staffing agencies accountable.”