Food System Workers Are the Unexpected but Under Protected COVID Heroes

J Nutr. 2020 Jun 25;nxaa173. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxaa173. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses an occupational health risk to food system workers including farmers/producers, grocery store workers, emergency food system staff and volunteers (e.g., food pantry workers), and others. These food system workers have been pushed to the front-line of this pandemic, providing essential services that support food consumption for all Americans. Food system workers are some of the most economically vulnerable populations and are at risk of further financial disparities and contraction of COVID-19 during this pandemic. As we continue to grapple with the best strategies to support the food system and mitigate concerns around the spread of COVID-19, appropriate measures must be considered to better protect and support front-line food system workers that safeguard food access for all Americans.

Keywords: COVID-19; food insecurity; food systems; policy; vulnerable populations.