Ben & Jerry’s benefited from migrant child labor

A recent New York Times exposé revealed that Ben & Jerry’s suppliers utilized migrant child labor to process milk, often in violation of labor laws.

The Times report, which interviewed more than 100 migrant child workers in 20 states, found that children are employed in the supply chain for several large companies, including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Ford, General Motors, and Ben & Jerry’s — a self-described “progressive” company.

According to the exposé, the children described the jobs as “grinding them into exhaustion.” They expressed concern that they had “become trapped in circumstances they never could have imagined.”

In some circumstances, children as young as 13 were found working 12-hour days and overnight shifts while going to school during the day. Federal child labor laws ban children younger than 16 from working more than three hours or later than 7 p.m. on school nights. However, the law carves out exceptions for the farming industry.

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According to the Times, the injury rate in dairy production is twice the national average across all other industries. It shared the story of a 14-year-old boy who worked 12-hour days on dairy farms in Middlebury, Vermont. During his first months on the job, he crushed his hand in an industrial milking machine.

The boy stated, “Pretty much everyone gets hurt when they first start.”

The article did not mention the Vermont company’s name or if it supplied milk to Ben & Jerry’s.

The ice cream company insisted that it has worked directly with labor unions to set minimum working conditions at its dairy providers. Cheryl Pinto, Ben & Jerry’s head of values-led sourcing, told the Times if migrant children must work, that it is “preferable” to have them in jobs that are well-monitored.

A spokesperson for Ben & Jerry’s told Fox News Digital that the company is “opposed to child labor of any kind whatsoever.”

“The company has an established track record standing for justice and equity for all including five plus years with Milk with Dignity supporting migrant workers. The Milk with Dignity Standards Council ensures that farmworkers are fairly compensated for their labor, work in healthy conditions, and builds in additional safeguards for those who are 16 and 17,” the spokesperson stated.

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