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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Department of Labor Raid on Gerber’s Poultry


According to press reports, the Department of Labor raided the Kidron, OH plant operated by Gerber’s Poultry during the night shift on October 4th.  Agents interviewed all workers and required identification, nation of origin, proof of status to work in the United States and the source of their documents.  It is understood that approximately 25 minors were at work in the plant in either processing or sanitation.


The Company subsequently issued a statement indicating their intent to cooperate with the investigation and to comply with federal regulations to verify eligibility for employment.  The company undertook to review relationships with third party vendors to ascertain compliance with federal labor laws.


Federal law disallows employment of any person under the age of 18 in a meat processing facility. Authorities are also investigating allegations of servitude with the minors forced to work in the plant by agents of traffickers based in Guatemala.


The fact that minors were apparently employed in a meat processing facility in early October suggests a willful lack of concern for compliance with federal and state laws.  After disclosures relating to Packer’s Sanitation Services, Inc. the circular letter from the Secretary of Agriculture and the penalties imposed on processors for employing underage workers, it is difficult to understand how any plant HR function could have failed to purge its headcount of ineligible workers.  The expedient of using third party contractors to provide services such as cleaning should be no excuse for contravention of federal laws. Apart from moral responsibility, Companies contravening child-labor, food safety, environmental or welfare laws are exposed to publicity with resulting degradation of brand image extending to loss of major customers.

Copyright © 2024 Simon M. Shane