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Tyson and Perdue face child labor investigations for allegedly contracting migrant teens to work dangerous positions at meat packing plants
Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Tyson and Perdue face child labor investigations for allegedly contracting migrant teens to work dangerous positions at meat packing plants

Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms are facing federal probes into allegations that the two companies illegally contracted migrant children to work dangerous positions in their meat packing facilities, the New York Post reported Monday.

A Department of Labor spokesperson confirmed to the outlet that the agency is investigating a Tyson facility and a Perdue plant, both located in Virginia. The spokesperson stated that "no additional details can be provided as the investigations are ongoing."

There are six Perdue-operated facilities in Virginia. Tyson has one Virginia-based plant, in Temperanceville.

The DOL's investigation was announced after an exposé appeared in the New York Times Magazine last week regarding a 14-year-old migrant boy who reportedly had his arm mutilated by a deboning machine at a Perdue slaughterhouse facility in Accomack County, Virginia.

According to Times reporter Hannah Dreier, the Perdue-operated plant was "full of migrant kids working in violation of child labor laws."

"The whole town heard about the accident. But even teachers and police kept it quiet," she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The Guatemalan teen, who reportedly worked at the facility from midnight to 5 a.m., got the position over a year ago by producing false documents that claimed he was in his 20s.

According to the Post, a Perdue spokesperson stated that the company had not been notified about the DOL's investigation. Perdue released a statement on its website addressing the child labor allegations.

"We are appalled by these recent allegations as they are not representative of who we are as a company and what we stand for," Perdue stated in part. "All associates we hire must provide documentation to confirm compliance with hiring requirements and authorization to work in the United States. Once an associate accepts an offer, we enter this information into E-verify for employment authorization confirmation and I-9 compliance."

"We have stringent, long-standing policies in place to ensure the safety of everyone working in our facilities, including robust measures to prevent minors from engaging in hazardous work in violation of the law," the company added.

Perdue stated that it plans to conduct "a comprehensive third-party audit of child labor prevention and protection procedures" and will "cooperate fully with any government inquiry on this matter."

Tyson Foods did not respond to a request for comment, the Post reported.

On Tuesday, Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King demanding a response to the child labor allegations presented in the Times exposé.

"I am alarmed by new reports that Tyson Foods has actively participated in dangerous and illegal child labor practices," Hawley said. "Any company that employs, facilitates, encourages, or excuses child labor must be held to account. In light of the facts, you owe the American people an explanation as to Tyson's child-labor practices."

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