If's Offal Policy: Looking Upstream at Food Safety (in Collaboration with OHS and ENV)
Tuesday, November 3, 2015: 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Over 100 years since publication of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair’s portrayal of the exploitation and harsh working conditions facing immigrant meat-packers in Chicago and other US cities remains relevant. Commentators at the time said Sinclair “aimed for the public's heart and hit it in the stomach.” Public outcry over The Jungle gave rise to the nation’s first food safety laws, but they focused on protections for consumers not workers. The disconnect between food safety and worker safety in our nation’s food supply continues.
Policies to protect food production workers generally are nonexistent or being weakened by deregulation. Current regulations do not address the hazards most prevalent in meat and poultry processing, such as line speed, repetitive tasks and exposure to antibiotics. With important consequences for food safety, the US Department of Agriculture has moved forward with a plan to transfer inspection duties to poultry workers instead of government inspectors. Even the public health gains realized by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 failed to include measures to erase significant food safety gaps, such as those in slaughterhouse facilities regulated by the USDA. The US’s “modernized” food safety system remains a jungle for workers in many respects.
This session explores how the safety of workers who process our food is integrally related to the safety of the food we consume. That existing food policy does not well integrate the two underscore raises important concerns about social justice and public health. How do immigrant and other vulnerable workers, who already face significant physical and psychosocial hazards, address their production responsibilities and be responsible for raising concerns about an adulterated piece of meat?
This session is a multi-section effort involving three APHA Sections: Food and Nutrition, Environment, Occupational Health and Safety.
Session Objectives: Describe two factors in our meat production system that are contributing to antibiotic resistance.
List two examples of hazards faced by meatpacking workers that have potential adverse consequences for food safety.
Explain an adverse impact on community health related to industrial meat production.
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.
Organized by: Food and Nutrition
Endorsed by: Occupational Health and Safety, Socialist Caucus, Veterinary Public Health, Community Health Planning and Policy Development, APHA-Committee on Women's Rights