A ‘hungry winter’ ahead, as food insecurity remains severe

Child hunger has dipped since the summer but still remains near record levels, according to a new analysis from The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. With Thanksgiving around the corner, the findings point to enduring hardship and food insecurity, eight months after the first pandemic-related shutdowns began. (No paywall)

Meat plants tied to 6-8 percent of early Covid-19 cases

Livestock processing plants "may act as transmission vectors" for spreading the coronavirus, said researchers who estimated the plants were associated with from 6 to 8 percent of Covid-19 cases nationwide during the early months of the pandemic. "Ensuring both public health and robust essential supply chains may require an increase in meatpacking oversight and potentially a shift toward more decentralized, smaller-scale meat production," said the researchers in a paper appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tyson orders investigation of ‘betting on Covid’ allegations

Former attorney general Eric Holder will lead an independent investigation into allegations that managers of a Tyson Foods hog plant in Waterloo, Iowa, ran a betting pool on how many employees would become ill with Covid-19, said the meat processor on Thursday.

U.S. and global ag trade resilient in face of pandemic

Partly because food is indispensable, agricultural trade has been remarkably robust despite the disruptions of the pandemic, said Ohio State professor Ian Sheldon during the university's annual agricultural outlook conference. Inventories of key staples are at high levels worldwide so "there's no reason why a health crisis turns into a global food crisis," he said.

With food workers likely to receive a Covid-19 vaccine early, experts say states should prepare now

Many states are prioritizing food system workers for early access to any Covid-19 vaccine, and experts say officials should begin outreach to workers now to overcome any trust, language, and access barriers, writes Leah Douglas in FERN’s latest story. A vaccine may be made available to …

Some states tougher than OSHA on coronavirus workplace outbreaks

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been heavily criticized for its handling of workplace Covid-19 outbreaks, California and a handful of other states have implemented more rigorous workplace safety regulations that experts say better protect food and farm workers from the virus. (No paywall)

Agriculture’s meeting season will be mostly digital this winter

Farm groups, from local cooperatives to large national organizations, traditionally hold their annual meetings during the winter, when field work is at a minimum and a meeting in town mixes business with a social get-together. Many of the national meetings will be held online this time due to the pandemic.

Public health experts warn of possible Covid-19 resurgence at food plants this fall

Public health experts are concerned about a possible resurgence of Covid-19 in food production plants this fall, Leah Douglas reports in FERN’s latest story. They say more comprehensive testing, physical distancing, and better data reporting are essential to keeping the virus in check, even as …

CDC report reveals thousands of previously undisclosed Covid-19 cases in food workplaces

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an updated report on the spread of Covid-19 among food manufacturing and agricultural workers on Monday, revealing thousands of previously unreported cases and reiterating the disproportionate impact that the virus has had on workers of …