Earlier this month, the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future released a major new report, “Public Health, Immigration Reform and Food System Change.” It details the challenges faced by agricultural and meat processing workers in the United States, approximately 80% of whom are immigrants. Despite the US food industry’s heavy reliance on immigrants, these workers and their families represent extremely vulnerable populations, especially given the current political climate. The report makes special note of the public health impacts on food workers and consumers as a result of the nation’s dependence on immigrant labor without a coordinated system to ensure safe and healthy working conditions. The recommendations of the report include comprehensive immigration reform, the expansion of health insurance benefits to food workers, and the removal of agricultural exemptions in existing labor laws.
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