Survey Finds That 51 Percent of Food Workers Report to Work When They Are Sick

Their reasons for showing up include income and supporting their families

Alchemy Systems surveyed workers in the U.S. and Canada.

With flu season upon us, more and more people are battling colds and might call in sick to work to recover. However, a new survey released by the food worker safety firm Alchemy Systems, finds that about 51 percent of workers in the food industry “always” or “frequently” go to work even if they are sick.

These workers include those who grow and process the food, as well as those who cook and serve it. The survey found that 38 percent of workers “sometimes” show up when they are sick. Nine out of 10 of the survey takers said they felt responsible for the safety and well-being of their customers.

Alchemy Systems surveyed about 1,200 workers in the food industry in the U.S. and Canada, and 73.3 percent of workers said that they came to work when they were sick because of their income — 47.8 percent said they needed to support their family or others; 42.7 percent said they needed to save money; 40.8 percent said it gave them a sense of self-worth; and 40.2 percent said they were interested in the job.


The survey also cited a Center for Disease Control study that food handlers were the source of 53 percent of foodborne norovirus outbreaks, and may have contributed to 82 percent of the outbreaks.