WASHINGTON – The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), a nonprofit that brings together workers, growers and retailers to produce safer, more responsibly grown fruits and vegetables, today announced that it will begin rewarding growers who have demonstrated best practices through a select number of other food safety programs by allowing them to use those certifications to streamline the EFI audit.
“The true value of becoming EFI certified is experienced by growers day in and day out through a workforce that is engaged in the pursuit of quality, productivity and safety,” said Kenton Harmer, certification director at EFI. “We use our audits to ensure that the right conditions exist for this to happen. Therefore, when growers can demonstrate exemplary performance by obtaining certain other credible certifications, EFI will not re-audit those areas in which there is an overlap with our standards. This saves growers time, effort and money.”
EFI food safety standards are built on industry best practices for preventing and detecting contamination in the fresh produce supply chain. But, as Harmer explains, the standards go further than that, “One of the innovations of EFI is to make sure that technical processes and management systems are supported by a culture of food safety on the farm. An EFI certificate represents a high-level of assurance because workers are trained, incentivized and encouraged to be the compliance officers for the food safety program.”
The food safety certifications that EFI currently recognizes through this program are GlobalG.A.P., SQF and CanadaGAP. Details about how current certificates from these schemes are used to reduce the number of audited EFI standards can be found here: http://bit.ly/EFIequivalence.
EFI’s multi-stakeholder approach to workforce development, certification and verification welcomes participation from across the produce industry. This includes retailers, growers, farmworker organizations and consumer advocacy groups. EFI Standards include compliance indicators for labor conditions, food safety and pest management.
For more information on EFI, visit: http://www.equitablefood.org/.
About Equitable Food Initiative
The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) brings together workers, growers and retailers to provide “Responsibly Grown. Farmworker Assured.™” fruits and vegetables. As produce farms comply with the EFI Standards — for improved working conditions, pest management, and food safety — the entire food system sees benefits, from farmworkers to businesses to agricultural communities and consumers.
EFI is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and receives funding support from The Atlantic Philanthropies, Broad Reach Fund, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, Cedar Tree Foundation, Oxfam America and The Walt Disney Company.
Members of EFI’s multi-stakeholder board, which were instrumental in the development of the EFI Standards, include:
? Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce International
? Bon Appe?tit Management Company
? Center for Science in the Public Interest
? Consumer Federation of America
? Costco Wholesale Corporation
? Farmworker Justice
? Farm Labor Organizing Committee
? Keystone Fruit Marketing, Inc.
? NatureSweet Tomatoes
? Oxfam America
? Pesticide Action Network North America
? Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste
? United Farm Workers
Source: Equitable Food Initiative