5@5: Meatpacking plant coronavirus cases rebound | Brands can't back up #BlackLivesMatter statements

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

June 12, 2020

3 Min Read
meat plant workers
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Meat production has rebounded, but so have coronavirus cases at plants

Meatpacking plant COVID-19 cases are bouncing back after the Trump administration and major meatpackers pushed for an executive order that enabled them to get up and running again, even with supposed "protections" in place to keep workers safe (companies implementing them are still reporting infections). Despite the resurgence of cases, meatpacking giant Tyson reinstated a rule that penalizes workers for missing shifts unless they are visibly symptomatic—the day before announcing that 815 workers at two of its reopened plants had tested positive for the virus. Read more at Modern Farmer


Food brands tweet #BlackLivesMatter, but what's behind the words?

Brands continue to stumble through the national conversation surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, and many of their statements are coming across as self-serving and empty. The vast majority of companies putting out such statements aren't committing to actions or examining their internal systems, policies and history for racism. Ultimately, "addressing issues of inequities, injustice and racism at every level within their own businesses" is the only way to enact real change. Read more at The New York Times


Former Wall Street trader's meal service delivers social justice

The founder of fast-casual food enterprise Everytable, Sam Polk, sees many paralells between 2008's Great Recession and the current crisis. His business makes healthy bowls of popular dishes that are priced according to what a given neighborhood can afford, and it has been keeping many vulnerable populations at the bottom of the economic "pyramid" in Southern California fed these last few months. Besides a now-thriving meal subscription business, Polk credits the business' central kitchen model for helping it scale up efficiently and thrive at a time when many restaurants are sinking. Read more at Bloomberg


Calorie labeling—once fiercely opposed by restaurants—could save thousands of lives and billions in health expenses

FDA quietly loosened calorie labeling rules for restaurants this past April, which research shows will have long-term reprecussions on Americans' health once these establishments begin opening back up. Experts say that having calorie information available prompts consumers to make wiser food-related decisions in addition to pressuring restaurants to transform their meals to be healthier. And in a nation rife with weight-related ailments, most of which make fending off the novel coronavirus especially difficult, these small choices matter greatly. Read more at The Counter


Whole Foods worker fired after posts criticizing free food for police

A Philadephia Whole Foods Market reportedly fired one of its employees after she shared posts on social media criticizing the fact that store management was providing free food to police during George Floyd protests. The company cited a "major infraction" as the reason for her removal and released the following statement about the incident: "We recognize employees' rights to express themselves, however we do not tolerate behavior or language that is obscene, abusive, threatening or vulgar towards Team Members or Team Leaders." Read more at The Guardian

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