Rumors can be extremely damaging. Where the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, people are justifiably concerned about their health, but not all the information circulating is accurate.

A few weeks back, chicken and eggs were said to be spreading the virus in India. In the U.K., a mobile telephone antenna serving the country’s largest coronavirus field hospital was recently destroyed, on the strength of rumors that the 5G network is spreading the virus. In Brazil, the country’s president has come in for a number of criticisms for his less than orthodox views on the virus.

While to most of us, these ideas may seem ridiculous, they nevertheless need a response. But it is not only this sort of information that needs to be addressed, workers in close contact with one another have legitimate concerns about their health. If we want them to keep on working, they really do need to know the risks that they run and what steps are being taken to protect their health.

Lights, camera -- continued action!

Returning to Brazil, this is exactly what the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) has done, launching a video to reassure workers - and consumers -- about steps taken to protect their health.

The public cannot be blamed for failing to understand that meat processing plants already have an array of measures in place to prevent contamination and disease spread, so while it may seem obvious to those working in the industry, it is important that this message is delivered to that group. Workers may need reassurance on extra protection measures.

ABPA’s video, lasting 2 minutes and 55 seconds, seeks to reassure workers and the public alike. Produced in Portuguese, versions are available with either Portuguese or English subtitles.

It simply details how pig and poultry meat processors in the country have stepped up measures to protect the health of their workers. Statements from the workplace show measures in place to protect the health of not only direct employees but also third parties.

ABPA’s executive director, Ricardo Santin, commenting on the industry’s commitment to worker health, said that even before Brazil’s various states adopted COVID 19 prevention strategies, pig and poultry meat companies had taken additional steps to protect their employees, and the video highlights some of these.

Among the measures are the isolation of workers identified as being particularly at risk, and an increase in active monitoring of those in the workplace, for example, through regularly checking workers’ temperatures throughout the day.

ABPA notes that various World Health Organization (WHO) and health ministry recommendations have been adopted into work protocols, but as a way of going above and beyond what these bodies recommend, the sectors have come up with their own measures, for example staggering the arrival of live birds and worker breaks to prevent crowding. Health and hygiene training have also been stepped up as has the distribution of alcohol gels.

Processing plants in Brazil, as in other countries around the world, have not been immune to workers’ demands for greater protection of their health. Some plants have been temporarily closed due to industrial action or court rulings. Producing a video showing exactly what workers can expect at the plant, while reassuring the public at the same time, is certainly a positive step to help keep the wheels of food production turning while reassuring a wider audience of the safety of their food.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.