Entries by Sarah Damian

Sarah Damian

Latino Poultry Worker Safety at Increased Risk Under USDA Proposal

By Sarah Damian, May 10, 2012 12:05 AM

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Food integrity concerns regarding USDA's proposal to streamline poultry inspection under the HAACP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) – which would increase production line speeds and reduce government oversight – have been raised by consumer advocates and whistleblowers alike (including anonymous federal inspectors). Another significant, but often-overlooked, issue is the impact these proposed changes would have on the health and safety of the plant workers.

Sarah Damian

Cautious Optimism on Chinese Food Whistleblower Protections

By Sarah Damian, Aug 2, 2011 12:20 PM

Whoa. A food safety whistleblower reward program … in China? The ongoing food crisis in the country has finally moved the government to compensate those who provide information on wrongdoing in the industry. The notion of paying individuals who take the bold step to expose corruption and abuse, instead of antagonizing them (which is disconcertingly common), is significant. Before we shower China with praise, however, we should consider what we know about the country’s treatment of whistleblowers.

Sarah Damian

Tomatoes with Integrity: A Win for Florida Farmworkers

By Sarah Damian, Nov 18, 2010 5:15 PM

Farmworker justice is a major component of food integrity that is often overlooked, but a growing movement to secure better rights for tomato pickers has made recent headlines. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker organization in Florida - where most of the country's fresh tomatoes are grown - reached an agreement Tuesday with the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange (FTGE) to extend CIW's Fair Food principles to 90 percent of the state's tomato industry. This includes paying fieldworkers a penny more for every pound of tomatoes picked, as well as following a Fair Food Code of Conduct that involves listening to worker complaints – an absolute necessity for these important potential whistleblowers.

Sarah Damian

China and America Battle It Out Over Food

By Sarah Damian, Nov 1, 2010 5:00 PM

International trade is no simple endeavor – whether it’s the balancing act of individual countries' safety regulations, or fighting political agendas that stifle certain exports. The epitome of conflict over food trade is seen in recent news about the United States and China.

Sarah Damian

Potential Immigrant Whistleblowers Face Hostile Environment

By Sarah Damian, Oct 8, 2010 10:45 AM

The role of a whistleblower already brings with it many intense challenges: possible job loss, drop in income, broken relationships, etc. But what if these brave souls were also seen as criminals in the eyes of many? To have a voice at all is a potential risk – let alone speaking out against the system that employs you. This is the conundrum confronting many immigrant workers in the country -- particularly in the agriculture and food industries.

Sarah Damian

Diverse Input Sought on SJ Police Chief Hire

By Sarah Damian, Aug 27, 2010 4:00 PM

The city of San Jose is seeking community input to help find a new police chief. In public meetings held throughout the city, residents have been sharing with authorities what they deem to be important qualities the new chief should have. The meetings are being simultaneously translated into Spanish and Vietnamese.

El Observador's Rosario Vital reports that outreach to ethnic communities is crucial, particularly after retired chief Rob Davis was criticized during his tenure for his lack of leadership in improving relations between police and the Latino and Vietnamese communities. San Jose police have had several instances of highly publicized run-ins with both communities. In one, a Vietnamese woman brandishing a vegetable peeler was shot in her home by the police. In another, officers were videotaped beating Phuong Ho, who appeared to be unarmed. San Jose also had a high rate of arrests for public intoxication, with Latinos making up a disproportionate number of those arrests.

Sarah Damian

Chinatown Eggs Cheap But Unlabeled

By Sarah Damian, Aug 24, 2010 10:00 AM

Consumers who shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown may have trouble determining which eggs are safe to buy. After the recent salmonella outbreak, the FDA listed all of the recalled eggs, including their brand, size and grade. The problem is that bargain stores in Chinatown often sell 30-egg trays with no brand labeling, date or number marks, making it nearly impossible to tell which could be contaminated, reports Wenjie Guan for the World Journal.

Sarah Damian

Security Cameras Mean Business in Chinatown

By Sarah Damian, Aug 19, 2010 2:19 PM

Businesses in Oakland's Chinatown are taking security into their own hands in light of this year's series of attacks on Chinese Americans and the recent downsizing of 80 city police officers. According to
Chinese-language daily the World Journal, business owners have seen their profits fall as fewer pedestrians come to Chinatown in the evenings.

Sarah Damian

Sheriff Helps Find Missing Migrants

By Sarah Damian, Jul 23, 2010 11:45 AM

The Mexican Consulate in San Jose is partnering with the Sheriff's Office of Santa Cruz County to make it easier for families in Mexico to find their missing relatives.

Sarah Damian

AIDS Messaging Tailored to Latinos

By Sarah Damian, Jul 19, 2010 2:45 PM

The Obama administration this week released its strategy to fight HIV-AIDS, announcing $30 million to fund the effort. Rather than treatment, the campaign this year centers on prevention and focuses on gay and bisexual men, and Latino and black men and women.

Sarah Damian

Latinos Missing from English Classes

By Sarah Damian, Jul 8, 2010 1:09 PM

Latino immigrants in the Bay Area might want to become fluent in English and get the skills to find a good job, but the English Center in Oakland, which provides language training and professional development, has seen a steady decline in its Latino students. Once an "overwhelming majority" at 57 percent in 2005, Latino students were down to 15 percent at the beginning of 2010.

Sarah Damian

Latino Kids Need Foster Care

By Sarah Damian, Jul 8, 2010 10:38 AM

The foster care system in California is in dire need of qualified parents looking to adopt, particularly Latino parents in the case of Santa Clara County, where 56 percent of the 1,200 children in the foster care system are Latino, according to county statistics.