CDC Foundation and Food & Society at the Aspen Institute Support Food Industry Workers with COVID-19 Safety and Vaccination Resources

With nearly 34 million people infected in the United States and stay-at-home orders that left many living socially-distant lives, COVID-19 has placed unprecedented focus on the United States’ reliance on our 31 million essential frontline workers, including those in the food industry. Black, Hispanic/Latino, and non-US born individuals from Asian/Pacific Islander (API) communities make up 49% of food industry workers, representing a disproportionate share of the total workforce in this occupation that has a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. To help meet the needs of workers fulfilling these critical roles, the CDC Foundation examined the knowledge, attitudes, personal protective equipment (PPE) access and environmental challenges of essential food workers and used those insights to develop a Food Worker COVID-19 Health Safety Toolkit, which was released today.

“Individuals in the food industry have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic from the start, while experiencing limited testing access, illness and deaths,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “Many workers in the industry do not have jobs that can be done remotely. And, to make ends meet, many workers may hold multiple jobs, at workplaces with greater potential exposure to COVID-19 and less access to quality healthcare. We developed this toolkit to provide additional resources to help protect food industry workers, who are serving our nation and our world.”

Though safe and effective vaccines represent the best way to protect individuals from COVID-19, vaccination rates have stalled in many parts of the country as new variants emerge. To share resources widely, the CDC Foundation has partnered with Food & Society at the Aspen Institute to release the toolkit that encourages vaccinations and emphasizes the importance of continuing to follow other key safety-related recommendations. The goal of the toolkit is to reach food industry workers with a variety of informative and practical resources and raise awareness to help individuals better protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities from COVID-19.

The CDC Foundation is also working with Food & Society to build two sets of online video-based trainings building on its comprehensive restaurant and travel-industry COVID-19 guidelines, Safety First: Protecting Workers and Diners as Restaurants Reopen. One video training will be for health officials to offer sector-specific guidance in their localities, and the other video is for restaurant, hotel, and institutional food-service workers. The online trainings will launch in mid-August.

The CDC Foundation supported Food Worker COVID-19 Health Safety Toolkit is available on the Food & Society at the Aspen Institute’s web site.

About the CDC Foundation

The CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) save and improve lives by unleashing the power of collaboration between CDC, philanthropies, corporations, organizations and individuals to protect the health, safety, and security of America and the world. The CDC Foundation is the go-to nonprofit authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private-sector resources to support CDC’s critical health protection mission. Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has raised over $1.2 billion and launched more than 1,200 programs impacting a variety of health threats from chronic disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer, to infectious diseases like rotavirus and HIV, to emergency responses, including COVID-19 and Ebola. The CDC Foundation managed hundreds of CDC-led programs in the United States and in more than 140 countries last year.

About Food & Society at the Aspen Institute

Food & Society at the Aspen Institute brings together leaders and decision-makers across the food chain and the public health community—farmers, nutrition researchers, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, chefs, tech innovators, restaurateurs, and food makers of all kinds—to find solutions to challenges in the food system. The goal is to help people of all income levels eat better and more healthful diets that help reduce global warming, enhance life expectancy, and distribute economic opportunities to communities that have been sidelined.