Company fined after 2 teens found working at southwest Minnesota meat processing plant

A nationwide food manufacturer has been fined and will have to make several reforms after federal officials learned that two teens worked at the company’s meat processing plant in southwestern Minnesota.

The U.S. Department of Labor says Monogram Meat Snacks, based in Memphis, Tenn., employed at least two 16- and 17-year-old children to operate meat-processing equipment at its facility in Chandler.

“In this case, Monogram should have never allowed two children to operate hazardous equipment,” Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman said in a statement. “After our initial investigation, Monogram Meat Snacks and its parent company have agreed to take important steps to prevent future child labor violations. Employers are legally responsible for training their management, hiring specialists and front-line supervisors to recognize potential child labor violations and to take all appropriate actions to verify that they are not employing children and other young people illegally.”

Just last week, a federal court in Minnesota entered a consent order and judgment, in which Monogram agreed to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and hire an outside compliance specialist within 90 days. Additionally, the company will pay $30,276 in civil penalties.

The labor department says Monogram also agreed to:

  • Have the third-party compliance specialist monitor the Chandler facility for three years and the company’s other plants for two years.
  • Audit machinery at all facilities and attach stickers that workers under 18 can’t legally operate.
  • Create a toll-free number for employees to get guidance and report compliance issues to anonymously.
  • Notify federal officials immediately of any other child labor violations.
  • Put together training materials for workers and maintain training logs.