It turns out that KFC's chicken legs might have required the sacrifice of a human leg. According to BuzzFeed, Case Farms — a large North Carolina-based poultry supplier that sells to companies like KFC — is facing over $1.4 million in fines. This is due to employees losing limbs while on the job at the company's Ohio processing facility.
A number of "gruesome industrial accidents" led to one 17-year-old worker having their leg amputated below the knee and a 24-year-old worker losing two fingertips. The story gets worse: The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes the two employees were then fired "after being maimed" on the job.
OSHA says that the 24-year-old lost her or his fingertips when cleaning a "fat sucker machine" in March. Case Farms got in trouble for letting the machine operate while it was being cleaned. Just a few weeks later, the teenager had half of her or his left leg amputated while cleaning a giblet chiller machine. Both were fired shortly after the incidents. OSHA spokesperson Scott Allen tells BuzzFeed that the case is "one of the worst of the worst," adding that the 17-year-old "shouldn't have been working there in the first place." Allen says OSHA has regulations that prohibit those under 18 to work either around or with machinery that could "put them at risk of amputation."
Case Farms has come out against the criticism: "While we do not deem it appropriate to comment on ongoing administrative matters, we do not agree with the negative characterizations that have been made about our company and our employees." The company adds that its employees is its "most important resource." This isn't the first time a KFC supplier has come under fire: Animal activists have previously accused the chicken chain of animal torture. Eater has reached out to KFC for comment.
Case Farms has faced major fines before, too. In August, OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program and fined it $850,000 over labor violations. Case Farms has 15 days to contest the latest OSHA citations.
Working in food production factories is a very dangerous job. Former employees of Texas-based ice cream company Blue Bell say that one of the company's factories was unsafe and unsanitary, which also resulted in a loss of limbs for an employee. Blue Bell allegedly bypassed a safety feature on a machine which resulted in one employee losing the top part of three of his fingers.