Child labor violations of employing minors have cost a Minnesota meat plant $30,000 in fines imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is the latest in fines for the meat industry paid for its child labor practices.

Tennessee-based Monogram Meat Snacks was accused of employing minors at its production plant in Chandler, MN. Labor Department investigators found two underage employees at Monogram’s Minnesota plant on March 28. Children are at risk for injury and pose a threat to food safety when cleaning equipment.

The plant employs 400 and produces meat snacks, including refrigerated sausages. Monogram also runs the Monogram Foods Loves Kids Foundation, which claims to raise funds for children’s charities in the communities where it operates.

In other fallout over the $1.5 million fine imposed on Packer Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) earlier, JBS USA has confirmed that it has launched its own sanitation services at its pork plant in Marshalltown, IA.

PSSI has reported lay-offs totaling 125 at Marshalltown, according to Iowa officials. But the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 1155, new hires by JBS, are quickly making up for the lost PSSI jobs.

JBS dropping PSSI, at this facility at least, means better jobs with better insurance, and starting pay at JBS is $21.50 per hour, up from the $19.75 that PSSI paid.

Earlier this year, PSSI paid fines of more than $1.5 million for employing child labor at 13 meat plants in eight states where it provided cleaning services to some of the top brands in the meat industry. Over 100 minors were found doing critical food safety jobs, many in overnight shifts.

Monogram produces beef jerky, corn dogs, frozen appetizers, sandwiches, and baked goods. The Memphis-based company has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Child labor has become a subset of human trafficking, which is investigated by Homeland Security and the Labor Department. Those investigations are focused partly on the 345,000 unaccompanied child migrants that have crossed the open southern border since 2021.

And JBS reports that as of June 30, it has dropped using contact services at 10 of its facilities and taken up the work with its own staff. JBS has joined with the UFCW union in a new structure for cleaning services.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Editor’s Note: After the above article was posted, Monogram Foods asked Food Safety News to share these points with readers:

  • As noted in the statement, we don’t tolerate this and made immediate changes to ensure it does not happen in the future.
  • Two individuals out of 400+ appear to have used falsified documents to obtain employment.