Table of Contents
Child Labor cited by U.S. Government
Risk of Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by other source
Risk of Child Labor cited by other source
Documented presence of migrant workers
Documented presence of other vulnerable workers
Documented presence or significant likelihood of third-party labor recruiters
Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by U.S. Government
Large numbers of dispersed, unorganized, or informal small producers or other worksites
Multiple points of aggregation, co-mingling, and/or transformation across supply chain
Complex, opaque supply chains and/or lack of vertical integration
High degree of flexibility in procurement practices of downstream entities
Scale or nature of risk varies significantly based on geographic area of production
Scale or nature of risk is present across multiple tiers or nodes of supply chain (including in associated downstream or upstream goods)
Scale or nature of risk is strongly associated with certain types of suppliers/entities
Beef is derived from cattle which is produced through four primary stages: breeding, rearing, fattening, and slaughtering. Labor risks have been documented at all nodes of production; for further information on risks in the upstream nodes of cattle production associated with beef, see the Cattle profile. In addition to risks identified in the upstream nodes of cattle production associated with beef (breeding, rearing, fattening), labor risks are present in the mid-tier slaughtering, processing, and packing nodes of meat production. After the fattening stage of production, cattle are often put to auction and sold to slaughterhouse and processing facilities where workers slaughter and disassemble cattle and cut, debone, and package meat and meat products before they are distributed to final retailers. The meat slaughtering and packing industry is known to have numerous health and safety hazards, including exposure to high levels of noise, slippery surfaces, dangerous equipment, and harmful chemicals as well repetitive physical motions that can result in musculoskeletal injury.22“Meatpacking.” United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, https://www.osha.gov/meatpacking#:~:text=These%20hazards%20include%20exposure%20to,common%20among%20meat%20packing%20workers. At industrial scales, the work can be dangerous, difficult, and generally considered unpleasant. These types of jobs, often referred to as “Three D” Jobs – dirty, dangerous, difficult – are often filled by workers who have little to no other choice for employment and may be from vulnerable socio-demographic groups, including refugee and immigrant populations.23“Three D Jobs.” Responsible Sourcing Tool, https://www.responsiblesourcingtool.org/understandrisk ; Stuesse, Angela and Nathan T. Dollar. “Who are America’s Meat and Poultry Workers?” Economic Policy Institute, 24 September 2020, https://www.epi.org/blog/meat-and-poultry-worker-demographics//. Workers may be exposed to long working hours with few or no breaks and discrimination and fast-paced production lines.24“When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones will Keep Hurting.” Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants. Human Rights Watch, 4 September 2019, https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat. Cleaning and sanitizing slaughterhouses, which involves exposure to dangerous chemicals and processing equipment, is an essential component of beef production; in the United States, children have been found to be employed illegally on sanitation crews subcontracted to clean slaughterhouses.25Yang, Maya. “Over 100 Children Illegally Employed by US Slaughterhouse Cleaning Firm.” The Guardian, 17 February 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2023/feb/17/underage-child-labor-working-slaughterhouse-investigation.
Cattle Breeding, Rearing, Fattening
Beef Processing & Packing
Slaughterhouse Sanitation & Cleaning
Distribution and Retail of Final Product
Beef and beef products are derived from cattle.
Beef products account for roughly 25 percent of all meat consumption worldwide.