WASHINGTON — Equitable Food Initiative announced today that Rouge River Farms, which specializes in tray-packed and year-round sweet corn, now has all of its U.S. operations EFI certified. In May 2018 Rouge River Farms was the first company on the East Coast to earn an EFI certification, and today the company completes its nationwide EFI certification effort.
This marks the 30th certification for EFI, which partners with growers and retailers to create a more transparent food chain, safer food and healthier places to work. Rouge River Farms’ operations in Florida, Georgia and Virginia have now met more than 300 rigorous standards to earn EFI certification, based on independent assessment conducted by third-party certifier SCS Global Services.
“Through EFI’s workforce development and certification program, Rouge River Farms has demonstrated its commitment to the principles of the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices,” stated Bonnie Holman, sustainability program manager in SCS’s food and agriculture division. “Accountability, increased transparency and responsible labor practices are the guiding principles of the charter, which is why SCS has endorsed this industrywide effort. Companies like Rouge River Farms should be applauded for their leadership in these arenas.”
Rouge River produces the only EFI-certified sweet corn, which is available featuring EFI’s Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured® label in select Costco Wholesale locations east of the Mississippi River. Farmworkers receive a bonus from each Rouge River sweet corn purchase made at Costco.
“EFI is so much more than an audit. It is a holistic approach that transforms the way workers interact. I have seen how EFI can make a company better,” remarked Margaret Stuart, senior compliance manager at Rouge River Farms. “After the EFI Leadership Team training, I saw an increase in productivity among the workers in our facility. I saw their behaviors and expectations of one another change, and saw that they were taking more pride in their work.”
In its first four years of operation, EFI has worked with 21 grower-shipper companies on 64 farm locations, covering 38 produce commodities and impacting more than 33,000 farmworkers.
Equitable Food Initiative is a nonprofit certification and skill-building organization that seeks to increase transparency in the food supply chain and improve the lives of farmworkers through training and continuous improvement practices. 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. For more information, visit www.equitablefood.org.
About Rouge River
Rouge River Farms provides fresh sweet corn to the market year-round. Established 30 years ago, the company has grown to the point where it now distributes to many valued grocery chains in Canada and the United States. It has growing locations in Florida, Georgia and Virginia in the United States, as well as Ontario in Canada. Rouge River Farms works to ensure that product is harvested at the premium date, cooled immediately and then loaded for transport. Handling produce in the proper way and transporting it as quickly as possible helps to ensure that what ends up on consumer plates at the end of the day is of the utmost quality and freshness. For more information about Rouge River Farms, visit www.rougeriver.com.
About SCS Global Services
SCS Global Services has been a global leader in third-party quality, environmental and sustainability verification, certification, auditing, testing and standards development for more than three decades. Its programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in energy, manufacturing, green building, food and agriculture, forestry and more. For more information about SCS Global Services, visit www.scsglobalservices.com.