Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) Reaches Certification Milestone: Standards Now Cover Nearly 5,000 Agricultural Workers

NatureSweet’s operation in San Isidro, Jalisco, Mexico, is the 10th
facility to offer ‘Responsibly Grown. Farmworker Assured.’™ labeled
product

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Equitable
Food Initiative (EFI)
, a nonprofit organization that brings together
workers, growers and retailers to produce safer, more responsibly grown
fruits and vegetables, today announced that it has reached a milestone
as NatureSweet’s plant in San Isidro, Mexico, becomes the 10th
EFI-certified facility.

This milestone is significant as 4,689 agricultural workers now work on
EFI-certified facilities in which Leadership Teams representing labor
and management provide continuous verification of compliance with EFI
standards. Of the 10 certified facilities, EFI has trained a total of
222 Leadership Team members, 45 percent of whom are women.

EFI certified its first operation in 2014. In addition to the first 10
certified facilities, there are currently 15 more already in the
training and audit process, and EFI expects to scale significantly in
the coming years. By engaging farmworker unions, growers, retailers and
consumer groups, EFI encourages open dialogue across all stakeholders in
the produce industry to promote value-adding approaches to social
responsibility and food safety.

“This 10th certification means that nearly 5,000 agricultural workers
now have the training, tools and work environment to actively
collaborate with management to provide higher levels of assurance to
customers and consumers,” said Kenton Harmer, certification director at
EFI. “Companies like NatureSweet are helping to pioneer a unique
combination of people development and rigorous third-party verification.”

NatureSweet is a groundbreaking leader of the fresh tomato industry,
driven through Unleashing the Power of People. EFI-labeled tomatoes from
NatureSweet San Isidro adhere to EFI’s strict food safety standards,
which are built on industry best practices for preventing and detecting
contamination in the fresh produce supply chain.

“We are very excited in partnering with EFI to transform the lives of
agricultural workers,” said Hector Espinosa, Best Company to Work For
Director at NatureSweet San Isidro.

“Everywhere we go, we encounter agricultural workers, supervisors and
managers who are eager to learn and proud of the work they do every day
to produce safe, healthy food. For many agricultural workers, EFI
trainings are a unique opportunity,” said Lilian Autler, workforce
development specialist at EFI. “Over and over, I have watched Leadership
Teams move from being a loose collection of people who happen to work in
the same place, to becoming co-workers who know and trust each other,
care about each other, and want to work together to improve their
workplace.”

For more information on EFI, visit: http://www.equitablefood.org/.

For more information on NatureSweet, visit: https://naturesweet.com/.

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.

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 Appétit 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

Website: http://www.equitablefood.org

Twitter: @EquitableFood

Facebook: facebook.com/EquitableFoodInitiative

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/equitable-food-initiative

Contacts

For Equitable Food Initiative
Brenda Patterson, 440-623-9581
brenda@shevrushpr.com