Labor and Health: Working Toward a Healthier Food Chain
In this panel, we will consider the multifaceted links between labor and health. We will examine this relationship in a number of ways, including impacts of poor labor conditions on the health of consumers and implications for food safety, as well as the impacts on workers across the food chain themselves. From migrant farmworkers to meat processing plants to restaurant workers, labor issues are integrally linked with health at every step of our food chain. Our food system is the largest industry employing Americans, and yet, provides the lowest paying jobs. These workers who grow, process, and serve our food often don’t have the means to get their own, or to stay healthy. A healthy food chain, thus, is not just one where safe food reaches consumers, but one in which all of the workers along the way are also treated fairly, with proper wages, mandatory sick days, and ample opportunity to lead healthy lives. What are the economic obstacles standing in the way of this goal? What are the regulatory frameworks and policy levers working to address these intertwined issues of labor and health in our food system and how can they be improved to better support our economy as well as public health?
The panel will feature: Seth Holmes, Martin Sisters Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley, Saru Jayaraman, Visiting Scholar, Berkeley Food Institute and Lecturer, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, and Chis Benner, Associate Professor, Human and Community Development, UC Davis.
Space is limited.
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