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Punk Rock HR

May 6, 2020

Punk Rock HR Episode 107:


One of the weirder stories to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis is that we might have a bacon shortage. Yeah, seriously. Now, I'm a vegetarian, and I have a lot of assumptions about how meat is made. But, a lack of bacon? That didn't sound right to me. 


So I reached out to my friend Jesse McCoy, who is an expert in biosecurity, specifically food and animal health. He keeps animals from getting sick, so we don't get sick. And when it comes to bacon shortages, it turns out that animals aren't the problem, it's humans. We're not washing our hands. We're not wearing masks. We're spreading COVID-19 to individuals who work in the meat industry. And then when they go to work, they're getting their colleagues sick. And that's having an effect at many different production facilities, which has a downstream impact on the supply chain. 


Jesse joined me to discuss whether or not the individuals who work on the line are indeed victims. Are they low paid? Are they working in terrible environments? Moreover, I had questions about how meat is made. What's the myth? What's the reality? Jesse helps answer those questions and sheds light on what conditions are currently like in the food processing industry. You're going to hear how our decisions in the grocery store affect a global enterprise. I think you're going to love this conversation.


In this episode you'll hear:

  1. Biosecurity: what it is and what Jesse does as part of his work.
  2. The intersection of labor and food production, including what we should and how it affects what is happening in the world. 
  3. The working conditions, today, within the confines of food production facilities.
  4. Some myths about animal genetics and food production. 
  5. When people get involved, that is when we increase the likelihood of having a foodborne pathogen.
  6. The concept that animals are being depopulated. What does that mean?
  7. Jesse leaves us with some things he would like listeners to know about food and what we can do right now to be good citizens, ethical consumers, and good advocates for farms.


"The food system is a chain, and if one of those links gets weak, everything changes." Jesse McCoy


Resources from this episode:

Jesse on LinkedIn

Laurie on Instagram

Laurie on LinkedIn

Read more from Laurie

Work with Laurie




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