Another meat processing plant, this one far distant from the first, has been found violating federal child labor laws by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The latest violator is Marksbury Farm Foods LLC – a retail and wholesale processor of beef and pork products in Lancaster, KY. The Labor Department investigation found Marksbury Farm allowed eight minor-aged employees to work outside of federally allowed hours and engage in hazardous work.
In late 2022, the Labor Department obtained an injunction against Packers Sanitation Services, which was providing child labor to the JBS Beef Plant in Grand Island, NE. In that case, one employee was under 14, four were 15 years old, five were 16 years old, and nine were 17 years old.
U.S. Homeland Security has reportedly been following up on the Packers Sanitation Services case to determine if human trafficking might also be occurring.
Marksbury Farm employed seven workers in slaughterhouse operations and an eighth worker to clean its floor, in violation of federal child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which forbids workers under 18 from doing most jobs in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, and packing establishments. Two of the minors, investigators learned, were under the age of 16.
Sanitation jobs in slaughterhouses are critical to food safety.
The federal investigation determined the employer allowed a 15-year-old employee to work past 7 p.m. on dates not between June 1 and Labor Day, more than eight hours on a non-school day, more than 18 hours during a school week, and before 7 a.m. on a school day, all FLSA child labor hours and time violations.
The Labor Department fined Marksbury Farm Foods an $8,893 civil money penalty to address the child labor violations.
“Federal labor laws protect children from being put at risk in truly dangerous work conditions. They exist to make sure the work young people do does not jeopardize their health or well-being or interfere with their educational opportunities,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils in Louisville, KY. “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring minors, parents and employers are aware of the child labor rules in order to prevent life-threatening injuries and potential death.”
The division also found the employer paid one employee an incorrect overtime rate after failing to update the worker’s regular rate of pay after they received a raise. By doing so, the employer paid overtime at a rate less than required. The division recovered $53 for this minor employee.
Located in Central Kentucky, Marksbury Farm Foods LLC distributes food in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, including at Kroger and Whole Foods Market locations.
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