CDC Worries About Sick Food Workers Spreading Disease Among Patrons

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sick food industry workers are infecting millions of Americans, but many employees say they don’t have the choice to stay home because their employers don’t offer sick pay benefits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the worst food-borne illnesses originated from contaminated food handled by sick workers.

But calling out sick from work means no pay for many, especially the lowest-income workers.

Kitrina Jenkins of West Philadelphia says taking off due to illness can get you fired.

“I had worked in a restaurant and, no matter if you’re sick or not, you still have to come in because you are at risk of losing your job,” she says.

The CDC says 20 million Americans come down with a norovirus every year and 70 percent of those  cases were caused by sick food industry workers.

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