LOS ANGELES — The US Department of Labor (DOL) filed a lawsuit on March 30 against three California poultry processors, taking legal action to halt their operations and cease alleged child labor violations.

The defendants named in the suit include L & Y Food Inc., Moon Poultry Inc. and JCR Culinary Group Inc., as well as managers Fu Qian Chen Lu, Bruce Shu Hua Lok and Ryan Zhong Lu.

According to the DOL’s complaint filed with the US District Court for the Central District of California, investigators with the agency’s Wage and Hour Division discovered on March 20 “oppressive child labor at Defendants’ poultry processing facility” in Irwindale, Calif. The investigators reported children under the age of 18 deboning poultry.

DOL said minors had been employed for months at the facility, leading the processed goods to now be considered “hot goods” under the Fair Labor Standards Act and unsuitable for commerce.

Through its lawsuit, the DOL sought an injunction preventing the goods from entering commerce or further traveling the channels of commerce and disgorgement of the profits obtained through shipping hot goods.

DOL added that, while the goods were moved out of the facility against the agency’s directions, the agency has been unable to determine if the goods have been shipped or are presently in commerce.

“Defendants have interfered with the Secretary’s ability to investigate and gather data regarding conditions and practices of employment in the poultry industry, and to investigate such facts, conditions, practices or matters as she may deem necessary or appropriate to determine whether any person has violated any provision of the FLSA, or which may aid in the enforcement of the provisions of the FLSA,” the agency said.

The District Judge Otis Wright II issued a temporary restraining order against the processors on April 1.

Wright’s order called the defendants to appear at court April 15. They are permitted to submit an opposition brief by April 5 in advance of the hearing.