Invisible No More: The Impact of COVID-19 on Essential Food Production Workers

Athena K. Ramos, Abigail E. Lowe, Jocelyn J. Herstein, Shelly Schwedhelm, Kelly K. Dineen, John J. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


From the farms to the packing plants, essential workers in critical food production industries keep food on our tables while risking their and their families’ health and well-being to bring home a paycheck. They work in essential industries but are often invisible. The disparities illuminated by COVID-19 are not new. Instead, they are the result of years of inequities built into practices, policies, and systems that reinforce societal power structures. As a society, we are now at an antagonizing moment where we can change our collective trajectory to focus forward and promote equity and justice for workers in agriculture and food-related industries. To that end, we describe our experience and approach in addressing COVID-19 outbreaks in meat processing facilities, which included three pillars of action based on public health ethics and international human rights: (1) worksite prevention and control, (2) community-based prevention and control, and (3) treatment. Our approach can be translated to promote the health, safety, and well-being of the broader agricultural workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-382
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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