EWG Applauds Farm and Food Worker Protection Funds in Covid-19 Relief Package

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Monday, December 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – EWG applauds the inclusion of funds for Covid-19 protections for farm and food workers in the pandemic relief package congressional leaders agreed to on Sunday. The package, which awaits a final vote before being sent to President Trump for his signature or veto, authorizes the Department of Agriculture to pay for protections for farm and food workers.

“We applaud congressional leaders for protecting the people who keep the rest of us fed,” said EWG Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber.

The Covid-19 pandemic – worsened by the Trump administration’s response – has taken the lives of more than 300 food and farm workers and sickened tens of thousands more, turning the nation’s food-processing plants and farms into virus hot spots.

Working conditions make food and farm workers especially vulnerable to Covid-19. The Covid-19 bill would give the next secretary of agriculture the discretion to spend up to $1.5 billion on personal protection equipment and other protections.

“The incoming administration must act quickly to ensure that workers are protected from Covid-19,” Faber said.

EWG also called on the Biden-Harris administration to immediately issue emergency protective standards to require food and farm employers to protect their workers from Covid-19, to make sure food and farm workers are first in line for vaccines, and to ensure that food and farm workers get compensated for the risks they take to feed us.

As more and more workers become sick during the current Covid-19 surge, food supply chains could quickly unravel, sending food prices spiking and increasing the number of Americans who struggle with hunger.

“Farm and food workers are working long hours, at enormous personal risk, to feed us,” Faber said. “The Biden administration must make every effort to protect these essential workers and recognize the critical contributions they make to our nation. Food and farm workers have always taken care of us – now we must take care of them.”

###

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

Key Issues: