In 2014, how many times have you gone grocery shopping or went out to eat at a restaurant? This week, consider the countless workers who grow, harvest, process, label, inspect, and ship food before it ends up on your dinner plate throughout the year.
The Food Integrity Campaign is joining the Food Chain Workers Alliance (FCWA) in celebrating this week’s International Food Workers Week to reflect on those who provide the food we eat, including brave whistleblowers who risk their livelihoods to expose threats to the food supply.
Since many Americans are also celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday this week, it seems doubly appropriate to take a moment to give thanks to the men and women along the food chain performing what is often thankless work.
As a reminder of the important role food workers have in society, here’s a list of brave truth-tellers who shined a public light on food system issues this year:
- Sherry Medina, Brian MacDonald and others who choose to remain anonymous submitted public affidavits listing their concerns about dangerous chemical use at poultry and meat processing plants. Medina and MacDonald both felt they had no choice but to leave their jobs as USDA inspectors due to failing health “related to chemical exposure.”
- Activists in Kauai continue to fight big biotechnology/pesticide companies that resist accountability for their practices growing and routinely spraying genetically engineered crops year-round in Kauai County, with little regard for the health of the surrounding community.
- Dr. Daryl Jacobs, a former USDA veterinarian and whistleblower from Idaho, spoke out against the state’s Ag Gag legislation before it passed in February 2014. He said: “whistleblowers need video to validate and substantiate what they’re saying … we can do better than this dangerous law, for animals, farmers and consumers’ sake.” The law is currently being challenged in court.
- USDA inspectors repeatedly revealed the onslaught of problems with the agency’s privatized poultry inspection rule, which was unfortunately released for implementation despite their concerns. Inspectors then revealed USDA’s plan to expand the program to other species.
Support these food truth-tellers by joining our community of food integrity advocates at FoodWhistleblower.org. Check out our resources for whistleblowers and get involved to help keep our food system honest.
Have a pleasant and safe holiday season!
Sarah Damian is Communications Manager for the Food Integrity Campaign.