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[email protected]: Meatpacking plants recruit foreign workers | Researchers reveal sugar-reduction targets to save lives

food labels that consumers care about
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.

Concerns about workplace safety as meatpacking plants recruit foreign visa workers

More foreigners are being hired to perform the incredibly dangerous job of cutting and packaging meat for U.S. consumers, an industry that has a long and storied history of worker exploitation, a new analysis out of Investigate Midwest shows. In 2015 six plants requested to hire foreign employees, and last year the number nearly doubled, to 11. The high rates of COVID-19 transmission between meatpacking plant workers is just one peril these workers have to contend with, and they're less likely to speak up about injustices because of their visa statuses and language barriers. Civil Eats has the scoop.

Cut sugar to save lives, researchers urge

Cutting 20% of sugar from packaged foods and 40% from beverages could prevent 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events, 490,000 cardiovascular deaths and 750,000 diabetes cases in the U.S. over the lifetime of the adult population, emerging research covered by The Harvard Gazette showcases. Implementing a national policy whereby the food and beverage industry commits to reformulating sugary products, however, will require government support to monitor companies as they work toward the targets and to publicly report on their progress. Will Big Sugar succeed once more in lobbying against such federal regulations? Stay tuned.

McDonald's, others consider closing indoor seating amid Delta surge in US

Some U.S. fast-food restaurants, including McDonald's, are closing indoor seating areas or limiting hours of operation because of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Reuters writes that expected closures are fewer than the number that shuttered in spring of 2020, when the pandemic first hit the United States. Deaths and cases were up significantly over the past week or so nationwide, with hospitalizations up 6% over the past week to an eight-month high, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last Friday.

COVID-19 aid package updated to assist poultry, hog, fruit and vegetable farmers

Newly announced federal aid will be available to contract growers of poultry, eggs and hogs, and it will cover lost revenue for essentially the entire 2020 calendar year. Farmers will be able to choose either their 2018 or 2019 earnings to compare (they'll simply choose the year that was more profitable), and the funding they receive will be 80% of the difference between their revenue in the year 2020 and either 2018 or 2019. Learn more at Modern Farmer.

The activist entrepreneurs running zero-waste shops

Here, BBC highlights the stories behind pioneering zero-waste businesses that are educating customers about the importance of living waste-free (and help make the shift easier). Zero-waste living is tied to a whole bunch of key natural products industry attributes, such as ethical supply chains and eco-friendly ingredients. The movement still has a ways to go, but interest is beginning to grow and younger consumers are increasingly putting their dollars where their values lie. 

TAGS: General 5at5
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