US-based meat company Monogram Foods has been fined over $30,000 for violating child labour laws at one of its plants in Minnesota.

The violation took place at the meat group’s subsidiary company Monogram Meat Snacks, which produces meat snacks, appetisers, sandwiches and baked goods.

The US Department of Labor opened an investigation in March at Monogram Meat Snacks in Chandler, Minnesota, which found the company had employed at least two 16- and 17-year-old children to operate meat processing equipment in violation of federal child labour hazardous orders.

Solicitor of Labour Seema Nanda said: “The Department of Labor and the Biden-Harris administration see child labour as a scourge in this country and will not tolerate violations of child labour laws.

Principal deputy wage and hour administrator Jessica Looman added: “In this case, Monogram should have never allowed two children to operate hazardous equipment. After our initial investigation, Monogram Meat Snacks and its parent company have agreed to take important steps to prevent future child labour violations.

“Employers are legally responsible for training their management, hiring specialists and front-line supervisors to recognise potential child labour violations and to take all appropriate actions to verify that they are not employing children and other young people illegally.”

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Monogram Foods said in a statement: “Our company does not want, and has a zero-tolerance policy for, ineligible underage labour and we have fully cooperated with this process. We take our legal obligations and our longstanding commitment to compliance very seriously, and immediately terminated the two ineligible workers who appear to have used falsified documentation relating to their identity or age in the hiring process.

“We have voluntarily made significant and immediate companywide changes to our existing policies and procedures to prevent this from occurring in the future. Every day, we strive to be a valued partner in our communities and meet our high standards of safety, compliance, trust and integrity,” the company added.

Earlier this year, another meat company was found guilty of having ties to child labour.

In April, Brazilian meat giant JBS’s US subsidiary ended its contracts with Packers Sanitation Services Inc (PSSI) after the cleaning firm was fined $1.5m for using child labour.

A US Department of Labor investigation found PSSI, which provided sanitation services at JBS USA meat plants, illegally employed more than 100 children.

JBS has since set up its own cleaning operation in the US after a supplier was fined for using child labour.