After children were found working for a Ford supplier in Michigan, the automaker said it was increasing audits and requiring that thousands of manufacturers begin looking over workers more carefully, even after they are hired. Security guards will inspect workers before every shift to ensure that their faces match their identification cards. “Ford has strengthened our supplier code of conduct globally based on lessons learned,” said Bob Holycross, Ford’s chief sustainability officer.
Suppliers are also adding safeguards.
The Northwest Dairy Association said it was hiring auditors to interview night-shift workers at some 300 dairy farms. Children were operating industrial milking machines on some of these farms in violation of labor laws, and were sometimes seriously injured, The Times found. A major producer, the association provides milk for brands including Nestlé, Costco’s Kirkland label and Safeway’s house brand Lucerne through its marketing arm, Darigold.
Smithfield Foods, the country’s largest pork producer, said it would bring in auditors annually to check the night shifts at 41 slaughterhouses. The company has also posted signs in Spanish and other languages around its plants emphasizing age requirements.
Tyson Foods said it had added unannounced audits for sanitation shifts, and instructed security guards to watch for young faces. Still, some shareholders are pressing for more robust action.