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Company fined $650K for hiring children to clean meatpacking plants

As an investigator watched cleaners walk into a pork processing plant, she noticed something unusual: A few carried "pink and purple sparkly backpacks" as they entered the Sioux Falls, Iowa, facility around 11 p.m.

That observation became evidence in a probe that now has led a Tennessee-based sanitation company to agree to pay nearly $650,000 in fines for hiring at least two dozen children to work overnight in slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities. In at least one case, a child was seriously injured.

A federal judge on Monday approved a consent order finding that Fayette Janitorial Service LLC sent teens as young as 13 to scrub razor-edged machinery with high-powered hoses, scalding water and dangerous chemicals. The agreement requires Fayette Janitorial to hire a third-party consultant - who will be tasked with monitoring the company's compliance with federal labor law - within 90 days. It also stipulates the company must establish a toll-free hotline number for people to anonymously report possible child labor violations to the consultant.


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