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Estimating Occupational Illness, Injury, and Mortality in Food Production in the United States: A Farm-to-Table Analysis

Newman, Kira L. BA; Leon, Juan S. PhD, MPH; Newman, Lee S. MD, MA

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 7 - p 718–725
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000476
Original Articles
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Objectives: The study provides a novel model and more comprehensive estimates of the burden of occupational morbidity and mortality in food-related industries, using a farm-to-table approach.

Methods: The authors analyzed 2008 to 2010 US Bureau of Labor Statistics data for private industries in the different stages of the farm-to-table model (production, processing, distribution and storage, and retail and preparation).

Results: The morbidity rate for food system industries was significantly higher than the morbidity rate for nonfood system industries (rate ratio = 1.62; 95% confidence interval = 1.30 to 2.01). Furthermore, the occupational mortality rate for food system industries was significantly higher than the national nonfood occupational mortality rate (rate ratio = 9.51; 95% confidence interval = 2.47 to 36.58).

Conclusions: This is the first use of the farm-to-table model to assess occupational morbidity and mortality, and these findings highlighting specific workplace hazards across food system industries.

From the Department of Epidemiology (Ms Newman), Rollins School of Public Health and Laney Graduate School; Hubert Department of Global Health (Dr Leon), Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga; and Center for Worker Health and Environment (Dr Newman), Colorado School of Public Health and School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora.

Address correspondence to: Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health and Laney Graduate School, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd, NE, Atlanta, GA 30322 (kira.newman@emory.edu).

This work was supported by funding from the ARCS Foundation and by the National Institute of Diabetes And Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (F30DK100097) to KLN. This work was partially supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (grant 1K01AI087724-01), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the US Department of Agriculture (grant 2010-85212-20608), and the Emory University Global Health Institute to JSL. This work was supported in part by grant T42OH009229, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to LSN. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Authors Newman, Leon, and Newman have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.joem.org).

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine