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Company pays $1.5M for violating child labor laws in meat processing facilities

Feb 23, 2023

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A food safety sanitation company has paid $1.5 million in penalties after the Department of Labor found it had illegally employed more than 100 children. According to the Labor Department, children ranging from 13 to 17 years old were using hazardous chemicals and cleaning meat processing equipment, such as back saws, brisket saws and head splitters. Employing children for hazardous occupations violates the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Packer Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) is based in Kieler, Wisconsin, and provides cleaning services to some of the United States’ largest meat and poultry processing facilities.

The children worked overnight shifts in 13 meatpacking plants in different states. Two of these were JBS Foods in Colorado and Greater Omaha Packing Co. in Nebraska.  Straight Arrow News reached out to PSSI for a statement, but did not hear back before this report.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in any given week, more than 153,000 children work in violation of child labor laws.

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SHANNON LONGWORTH: A FOOD SAFETY SANITATION COMPANY HAS PAID $1.5 MILLION IN PENALTIES AFTER THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FOUND IT HAD ILLEGALLY EMPLOYED MORE THAN A HUNDRED CHILDREN.

ACCORDING TO THE LABOR DEPARTMENT, THE CHILDREN, RANGING FROM 13 TO 17 YEARS OLD, WERE USING HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS AND CLEANING MEAT PROCESSING EQUIPMENT, SUCH AS BACK SAWS, BRISKET SAWS AND HEAD SPLITTERS.

EMPLOYING THEM FOR HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS VIOLATES THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT.

PACKER SANITATION SERVICES INC.–OR PSSI– IS BASED IN KIELER, WISCONSIN, AND PROVIDES CLEANING SERVICES TO SOME OF THE UNITED STATES’ LARGEST MEAT AND POULTRY PROCESSING FACILITIES.

THE CHILDREN WORKED OVERNIGHT SHIFTS IN 13 MEATPACKING PLANTS IN DIFFERENT STATES. FROM JBS FOODS IN COLORADO TO GREATER OMAHA PACKING CO., RIGHT HERE IN NEBRASKA. 

I REACHED OUT TO PSSI FOR A STATEMENT, BUT DID NOT HEAR BACK BEFORE THIS REPORT.

THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS ESTIMATES THAT, IN ANY GIVEN WEEK, MORE THAN 153,000 CHILDREN WORK IN VIOLATION OF CHILD LABOR LAWS.


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