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Dept. of Labor Alleges Use of Illegal Child Labor by Another Third-Party Sanitation Provider

Feb. 22, 2024
Fayette Janitorial Service LLC provides contract sanitation to meat and poultry plants in some 30 states and is the latest company under investigation for allegedly employing underage workers.

Somerville, Tenn.-based Fayette Janitorial Service LLC (operating as Fayette Industrial) is the target of a Dept. of Labor complaint requesting a nationwide temporary restraining order and injunction, aimed at stopping the company from illegally employing child workers as further investigation continues.

The DOL alleges that Fayette, which provides contract sanitation and cleaning services for meat and poultry processing facilities in about 30 states, including Perdue Farms and Seaboard Triumph Foods, has employed children to clean and sanitize spaces and equipment during overnight shifts at Perdue’s Accomac, Va., and Seaboard Triumph Foods’ Sioux City, Iowa, facilities, the release from the department said.

According to the ongoing investigation, Fayette employed 15 child workers (some as young as 13 years old) in Virginia and at least nine in Iowa. The minors were used to clean kill-floor equipment such as head splitters, jaw pullers, bandsaws and neck clippers. At least one 14-year-old at the Virginia facility suffered severe injuries while on Fayette’s books, the DOL said.

A Sioux City news outlet received a statement from Seaboard Triumph saying that the company has terminated all contracts with Fayette, which had just begun providing these services at the Sioux City plant in September 2023. Seaboard said it is cooperating with the DOL and will continue to do so.

The investigation and accusations are just the latest in the year-plus barrage of investigations into the use of child labor in the meat and poultry industries and some of their third-party service providers. The DOL has left few stones unturned, having brought accusations and investigations to various meat and poultry processing plants, all on the heels of the investigation and eventual punishment of Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) in 2022-2023, which made national headlines for its depth and severity.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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