food industry

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Occupational Health News Roundup

Advocates work to expand consumer concern from humanely treated food to humanely treated workers; workers with children face struggles in Silicon Valley; Texas lawmakers introduce bill aimed at fertilizer plants; Microsoft to require paid leave policies at its suppliers; and the McDonald’s wage hike is too small for too few.

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.