Underpaid Workers, Social Injustice and Food Safety

Fred Pritzker
Attorney Fred Pritzker

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how paying low wages and offering few benefits to food workers increases the risk of foodborne illness. Simply put, if people want safe food, they have to pay for it.

Mark Bittman’s opinion piece in Sunday’s New York Times entitled “Is It Bad Enough Yet?” expands on that idea by noting that the great disparity of wealth in this country – that allows an incredibly small number of Americans to become (and stay) incredibly rich – results in  underpaid workers who are also much more likely to be beaten, incarcerated or even killed:

And of course it’s the same struggle: “It’s the same people,” says Saru Jayaraman, the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “Young people working in fast food are the same people as those who are the victims of police brutality.

Bittman concludes:

Everything affects everything. It’s all tied together, and the starting place hardly matters: A just and righteous system will have a positive impact on everything we care about, just as an unjust, exploitative system makes everything worse.

In other words, we get what we pay for – social justice and food safety.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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