Health workers in the United States who are licensed by their state Department of Health to handle food-related illnesses are receiving on average a $25 hourly wage.
The Department of Labor, which administers the food trade licenses, recently issued guidelines on how the food industry should handle workers who don’t qualify for their licenses, but those guidelines haven’t been put into place yet, according to a recent report in the New York Times.
The Department also said that some state licensing authorities are enforcing their own rules, and those states that do not enforce their own laws on how they handle food workers are violating the rules.
“The food industry has been very responsive to the new guidance, and has been trying to make good on some of the guidance,” said Jennifer DeAngelis, director of health care and safety policy at the Center for Food Safety, which has a track record of challenging the USDA’s food safety rules.
“They’re doing everything they can to make sure they get their workers in and out of the system.”
Health workers who have been denied licenses to handle the sickest food products in the country, such as the highly contagious coronavirus, have been making their own efforts to get the licenses.
Last week, workers at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in San Antonio, a state-sanctioned facility, refused to work during the coronaviral pandemic.
They said the hospital’s handling of coronaviruses has put patients’ lives at risk, and that they were trying to do the right thing for their patients.
They’ve said they will continue to work, but they are not receiving any pay, according the San Antonio Express-News.
The Texas Department of State Health Services issued a statement this week saying it “has a process in place to ensure all licensed food service workers are adequately trained, are certified and are able to perform their duties safely and effectively.”
The agency said it has a policy that “mandates that food service staff must have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent certification in food service.”
The agency said there is no guarantee that the workers in question would receive the same training, but that if they did, the department would take steps to ensure that they would receive adequate training.
The agency also said it will consider how to provide the health workers with other benefits if the workers refuse to do their jobs, including paid sick leave.
The agency also cited the need to ensure the workers are paid for the time they spend at the hospital and not for the work that they are supposed to do.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance in January for the food and food service industries on how to deal with foodborne illnesses.
In a statement to Healthline, the FDA said it is “currently reviewing the guidelines to ensure they address any concerns about foodborne illness.”
The FDA has said that the guidelines are meant to be “helpful to industry and individuals who are struggling to secure food-safety licenses, to make the most of the limited opportunities to do so and to provide assistance to those who are most vulnerable.”
“However, it is important to note that this guidance does not provide a blueprint for all food safety professionals and should not be used to determine whether an individual food service worker should be employed,” the FDA wrote.
“As the guidance is updated to reflect the evolving circumstances, FDA will continue its efforts to help these professionals secure food safety licenses and provide training and support.”