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   EFI To Accept GFSI-Benchmarked Certificates 
by Equitable Food Initiative
Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 9:08AM EDT

WASHINGTON -- Equitable Food Initiative announced today that in January 2018 it will begin accepting other current certificates benchmarked to the Global Food Safety Initiative as partial evidence of conformance to EFI's food safety standards. Operations seeking EFI certification will also have to meet additional requirements to confirm that a "culture of food safety" is in place on their farms.

To offer more flexibility while maintaining EFI's rigorous standards, EFI will allow growers working to earn or maintain EFI certification two options: either meet the existing 142 food safety indicators outlined in the EFI standards or present a valid GFSI-benchmarked food safety certificate, as well as proof of conformance with the Costco Food Safety Addendum and with EFI's Culture of Food Safety Addendum.  

The EFI model is based on the belief that safer food is produced when farmworkers are valued, respected and engaged in dialogue with their employers. The training and development of EFI leadership teams creates cultural changes on farms that ensure open communication channels and worker protections are in place. Workers in turn assume more responsibility to identify, mitigate and respond to food safety risks.

Acceptance of GFSI-benchmarked certificates in place of EFI's custom food standards ensures that valid, internationally accredited food safety certificates are in effect at all times. The requirement for adding the Costco Food Safety Addendum and the EFI Culture of Food Safety Addendum provides even more assurance. Moreover, this shift will reduce growers' audit burden and allow EFI audits to focus more on farmworkers' role in food safety.

"We believe that the combination of a GFSI-benchmarked certification, the Costco Food Safety Addendum and the EFI Culture of Food Safety Addendum creates the most rigorous set of requirements in the market," said Kenton Harmer, certification director at EFI. "It also allows our certification to focus on our strongest differentiator — the role of the farmworker on the front lines of food safety."

About EFI

Equitable Food Initiative is a nonprofit certification and skill-building organization that seeks to transform agriculture and improve the lives of farmworkers. EFI brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to solve the most pressing issues facing the fresh produce industry. Its unparalleled approach sets standards for labor practices, food safety and pest management while engaging workers at all levels on the farm to produce Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured™ fruits and vegetables.

Source: Equitable Food Initiative 

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