For this perilous work, most earn poverty wages, receive no benefits, and enjoy little job security. Food chain labor is often performed by people living in diaspora who face cultural and language barriers, and experience social isolation. Forced and coerced labor is all too common. Consuming and profiting from food that was produced through the labor of others creates a web of interdependent connections between food producers, consumers, and countless food chain workers. These connections give rise to ethical duties toward the workers who contribute their labor to the enterprise and sustenance of others.      

Food Chain Labor


Our ability to meet our food needs through relatively little of our own labor is a great and often undervalued privilege. Because the work performed by over a billion laborers throughout the food chain is so critical, one might expect that those who work in the agri-food sector would be revered, well compensated, and protected.
To the contrary, the poor working conditions and wages that food chain laborers across the globe face call into question the ethical value of even the most environmentally sustainable, nutritious food. Food chain workers perform hard physical labor for long hours either outdoors or inside dangerous facilities. They work with or near dangerous machinery, toxic chemicals, or powerfully built animals.