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Minnesota meat processing company fined $300K for illegally employing children

WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of Sept. 8, 2023
WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of Sept. 8, 2023 01:41

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minnesota meat processing company has been ordered to pay $300,000 in penalties for illegally employing children in hazardous occupations.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry announced Friday that a district court entered a consent order requiring Tony Downs Food Company in Madelia to comply with state child labor laws and that it take significant steps to ensure compliance with those laws.

The decision comes after an investigation by the DLI found the company employed at least eight children between the ages of 14 and 17 who operated meat-processing equipment, violating state child labor laws that prohibit minors from working in hazardous occupations.

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One employee claimed they were only 13 when Tony Downs Food Company hired them.

Employees at the company perform hazardous work such as "operating meat grinders, ovens and forklifts for the company during overnight shifts, which last until 1 or 2 a.m."

The DLI said injury reports from the company showed that children have been injured while working these dangerous jobs.

Tony Downs has agreed to hire a third-party compliance specialist within 90 days to provide training, adopt or revise policies and procedures and monitor compliance with state child labor laws.

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