5@5: Trump administration rolls back food safety laws | Mega-retailers sell SNAP users junk food

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.

July 24, 2020

2 Min Read
meat plant sausage
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7 ways the Trump administration has deregulated the food system during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Trump administration has rolled back a wide variety of restrictions on various segments of food production including labor protections for meatpacking workers and food labeling requirements for food manufacturers. Critics say that the efficiency that less bureaucracy incurs is far outweighed by the inevitably negative effects on food workers and the environment. Read more at The Counter


COVID brought SNAP users online. Advocates say mega-retailers are selling them junk food

A new report shows that online SNAP retailers, which currently consist of Walmart and Amazon, are locking the program's low-income participants into online shopping patterns that favor highly processed, unhealthy products. Big-box retailers have a long history of using personalized data and multicultural marketing to target certain demographics, and the e-commerce boom due to the pandemic has only made this easier for them. Read more at Civil Eats


Virus can travel 26 feet at cold meat plants with stale air

A new study shows that the novel coronavirus can travel greater distances in conditions where the air is cold and stale. This would explain why the virus has had such a devastating effect on workers in meat or fish processing plants, because six feet of distance simply isn't enough. Read more at Bloomberg


Whole Foods punished workers for Black Lives Matter masks, suit says

14 employees at Whole Foods stores in California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Washington State were sent home without pay and threatened with the loss of their jobs for refusing to remove their Black Lives Matter masks, apparel and pins. Workers have previously been allowed to wear messages on masks and apparel when they supporting other causes, such as L.G.B.T.Q. rights. Now the employees are stating in a class-action lawsuit that the company is retaliating unfairly against them. Read more at The New York Times


USDA issues update on beef price-fixing investigation, but no conclusions

While an investigation into price-fixing within the beef industry is ongoing, USDA has confirmed that the disparity between the price of processed beef and the price paid to ranchers is the highest in recorded history. The big four meat companies (Tyson, JBS, Smithfield and Cargill) appear to be celebrating prematurely as the organization has yet to report on potential violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act, which is the bill that the price-fixing would apply to. Read more at Modern Farmer

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