DES MOINES, Iowa (NEWSnet/AP) — A Tennessee-based sanitation company has agreed to pay more than a half-million dollars, after investigation found it illegally hired children to clean meat-processing facilities in Iowa and Virginia.

U.S. Department of Labor announced that Fayette Janitorial Service LLC agreed to nearly $650,000 in civil penalties and a court-ordered mandate that it no longer employs minors.

The February filing indicated federal investigators believed at least four children still were working at one Iowa slaughterhouse as of Dec. 12, 2023.

U.S. law prohibits companies from employing people younger than 18 to work in meat processing plants.

The Labor Department alleged that Fayette used 15 underage workers at a Perdue Farms plant in Accomac, Virginia, and at least nine at Seaboard Triumph Foods in Sioux City, Iowa. Work included sanitizing dangerous equipment, such as head-splitters, jaw-pullers and meat bandsaws in hazardous conditions where animals are killed and rendered.

One 14-year-old was injured severely while cleaning the drumstick-packing line belt at the plant in Virginia, investigation alleges.

The agreement stipulates Fayette will hire a consultant to monitor the company’s compliance with child labor laws for at least three years.

Follow NEWSnet on Facebook and X platform to get our headlines in your social feeds.

Copyright 2024 NEWSnet and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.