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Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods under federal inquiry over reports of illegal child labor

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Tyson and Perdue probed for child labor

The Labor Department is investigating Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods — two of the biggest poultry producers in the U.S. — after reports that migrant children as young as 13 have been working overnight shifts to clean the companies' plants.

The department told NPR that its Wage and Hour Division is looking into the matter and could not provide additional details.

The inquiry comes after The New York Times Magazine published last week a harrowing account of a 14-year-old boy, Marcos Cux, whose arm was nearly torn off while working at a Perdue slaughterhouse on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

According to the Times, Cux was hired by one of Perdue's contractors tasked with cleaning operations. He and other middle and high school-aged children made up about a third of the overnight shifts at the plant — handling acid and pressure hoses to wash away blood and meat scraps from industrial machines.


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