North American Meat Institute Statement on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John OliverMonday, February 22, 2021
CONTACT: Sarah Little (443) 440-0029
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC – The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today released the following statement regarding HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver:
“The protection of the 500,000 men and women whose hard work and dedication keeps meat in Americans’ refrigerators and our farm economy working during this pandemic is not a joke,” said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the Meat Institute. “The fact is, due to comprehensive protections instituted since the spring of 2020, independent data show COVID-19 infection rates are now three times lower for meat and poultry workers than the general public.”
Meat and Poultry Industry Worker Safety Facts
- President Biden’s worker safety guidance issued in January reaffirmed protections implemented in meat and poultry facilities since last spring. Detailed information about the pandemic’s impact on meat and poultry workers and COVID-19 response measures is available here.
- The Meat Institute and the United Food & Commercial Workers, America’s largest food workers union, agree vaccination is the critical next step to build on these protections and have jointly urged state governors to follow federal guidance and prioritize frontline meat and poultry workers for COVID-19 vaccination. Employers have taken concrete steps to educate workers about vaccination and facilitate access to vaccines.
- In addition to protecting employees in a pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found U.S. meat and poultry packers and processors have decreased worker injuries by 77% since 1999, reaching a record low of 4 cases per 100 full time workers per year in 2019, continuing a longstanding and sustained trend of workplace safety improvements.
- In August, the Meat Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) signed a two-year alliance to provide Meat Institute members, the public, and other stakeholders with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help protect workers. During the two-year alliance, participants will develop information on recognizing coronavirus transmission risks and best practices for preventing transmission, and on challenges for exposure control in meatpacking and processing facilities. Alliance participants will also conduct outreach to small- and medium-sized facilities on available guidance and compliance assistance resources, including the On-Site Consultation Program, and will work together on other outreach activities, including providing information on OSHA’s enforcement policies and procedures relevant to the meatpacking and processing industry.
The North American Meat Institute is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, as well as manufacture the equipment and ingredients needed to produce the safest and highest quality meat and poultry products.
###share on facebook share on twitter