United States: a hygiene company fined for illegal work of minors

The JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado in 2020. Packers Sanitation Services employed over 100 children at 13 meatpacking plants including JBS.

AP - David Zalubowski

Text by: RFI Follow

1 min

One of the largest American food hygiene and safety companies is fined.

She must pay $1.5 million to the Department of Labor.

The reason ?

Packers Sanitation Services employed about 100 miners who had to clean razor-sharp saws with toxic chemicals.


Read more

With our correspondent in the United States,

Thomas Harms

Four of the children involved were no older than 13.

In total, Department of Labor investigators have discovered 102 minors in meat processing plants in eight states over the past three years (Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas).

Some worked night shifts for Packers Sanitation Services and went to school during the day.

They cleaned back saws, head splitters and chest saws.

Three children were burned using chemicals.

According to the US administration, this was in complete violation of laws relating to the protection of minors.

Packers Sanitation Services, one of the nation's largest food processing plant cleaning companies, has since terminated the children's contracts and welcomed the settlement reached with the Labor Department.

In the United States, the minimum age is 14 and the law prohibits anyone under 18 from performing hazardous work.

But the elected officials of several states want to relax the laws to allow more minors to work, to make up for the shortage of labour.

For example, a bill from Arkansas lawmakers wants to allow children to work without the written consent of their parents and without having to prove their age.

► To read also: In the United States, a thousand migrant children still separated from their parents


Receive all the international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application


  • Employment and Labor

  • Feed

  • Children's rights

  • Social issues