Sunday, April 14, 2024

AFGC backs vaccine decision for food and grocery manufacturing workers

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) welcomes the NSW government’s decision to ensure that essential food and grocery manufacturing workers get priority access to Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines.

According to the AFGC, there is a 20,000 strong workforce across the areas of concern in south and western Sydney that help to keep the many food and grocery manufacturing businesses in this area operating, supplying essential products that Australians consume every day.

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden says that these businesses help to ensure that the supermarket shelves are stocked and that there are food, cleaning and personal care products for hospitals, aged and disability care, food donation charities such as Foodbank and home meal kit providers.

Importantly, she says, access to vaccines for essential workers will help to not only secure food and grocery supplies but also ensure that workers are safe at work and when they return to their community.

“Essential food and grocery businesses – from major employers such as Primo, Tip Top, Goodman Fielder, Bega and Kellogg, through to small-medium sized businesses such as Maggie Beer Foods and Birch and Waite – are doing all they can to help keep their staff safe and operations going,” says Ms Barden.

“We thank the NSW government for listening to industry and for their efforts in providing access to Pfizer for these essential workers as well as backing industry to use rapid antigen testing if they choose to as an additional defence against the spread of Covid-19.

“The AFGC encourages other state governments to take a similar approach to recognising the importance of the industry through similar measures.

“The people working in food and grocery manufacturing are providing a vital service during this pandemic and priority access to vaccines is recognition of the importance of their work to all Australians and of providing a safe workplace and confidence for their families.

“It is essential that we increase vaccination rates in these areas of concern, especially for younger people where the numbers are higher and to help provide greater security of food and grocery production/ distribution in these areas.”

Ms Barden says it is important to remember that food and grocery production and distribution is safe, reliable and highly efficient in Australia.

“This decision by the NSW government will help to minimise disruptions to food and grocery production and distribution, providing confidence to consumers that essential products and their favourite brands will continue to be available thanks to the skill and efforts of our food and grocery manufacturers,” she says.

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