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The SARS-COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 6 million deaths worldwide (>967,000 deaths in the U.S. alone). Importantly, this pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the food industry, including the meat processing industry. As a result, the health of food processing workers has been negatively impacted, leading to high numbers of SARS-COVID-19 cases at food processing facilities and surrounding communities. Resulting shutdowns have also led to product shortages for consumers and economic losses to the industry. In response, the food processing industry and public health agencies have prioritized continued food access over identifying evidence-based best practices for controlling airborne viral threats (AVTs). Consequently, the lack of high -quality evidence has made it more difficult to identify appropriate control measures that could prevent current and future airborne viral threats (AVT) in food processing facilities. Without evidence-based best practices, the food processing industry will remain vulnerable to future AVT events. Therefore, there is a pressing need for timely research on the spread of AVT in food processor settings. The aim of this article is to summarize the epidemiological knowledge regarding the impact COVID-19 has had on the food industry and the meat industry in particular and to emphasize the need for empirical research into the factors that contribute to the spread of airborne viruses in these settings in order to secure these facilities from future AVTs.
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