Cooking and Eating Facilities in Migrant Farmworker Housing in North Carolina

Sara A. Quandt is with the Department of Epidemiology, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC. Phillip Summers, Chaya R. Spears, and Thomas A. Arcury are with the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine. Werner E. Bischoff is with the Department of Internal Medicine, Section on Infectious Diseases, Wake Forest School of Medicine. Haiying Chen is with the Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine. Melinda F. Wiggins is with Student Action With Farmworkers, Durham, NC. Sara A. Quandt, Werner E. Bischoff, Haiying Chen, and Thomas A. Arcury are also with the Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 01/2013; 103(3). DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300831
Source: PubMed


We sought to (1) describe observed cooking and eating facilities in migrant farmworker camps, (2) compare observed conditions with existing farmworker housing regulations, and (3) examine associations of violations with camp characteristics.

We collected data in 182 farmworker camps in eastern North Carolina during the 2010 agricultural season. We compared our observations with 15 kitchen-related housing regulations specified by federal and state housing standards.

We observed violations of 8 regulations in at least 10% of camps: improper refrigerator temperature (65.5%), cockroach infestation (45.9%), contaminated water (34.4%), rodent infestation (28.9%), improper flooring (25.8%), unsanitary conditions (21.2%), improper fire extinguisher (19.9%), and holes or leaks in walls (12.1%). Logistic regression showed that violations were related to the time of the agricultural season, housing type, number of dwellings and residents, and presence of workers with H-2A visas.

Cooking and eating facilities for migrant farmworkers fail to comply with regulations in a substantial number of camps. Greater enforcement of regulations, particularly during occupancy during the agricultural season, is needed to protect farmworkers.

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