food industry

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When President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law in 2011, it was described as the most sweeping reform of the nation’s food safety laws in nearly a century. Public health advocates hailed the law for shifting regulatory authority from reaction to prevention. What received less attention was a first-of-its-kind provision that protects workers who expose food safety lawbreakers.

After nearly three decades as a USDA food safety inspector, Stan Painter tells me he now feels like “window dressing standing at the end of the line as product whizzes by.”

A Food Chain Worker Alliance survey of food industry workers — including agricultural and farmworkers, food processing and slaughterhouse employees, and those working in food distribution and retail — found that 86% earned low or poverty wages.