One-stop shop for food safety certification

A company that places the highlight on the worth of farmworkers in serving to to maintain this nation’s contemporary produce secure and wholesome has moved one other step ahead in benefiting growers, retailers, farmworkers and customers.

Incubating since 2009, the Equitable Meals Initiative (EFI), which started certifying produce farms in 2014, brings growers, farmworkers, farmworker organizations and retailers collectively to enhance working situations, meals security practices and pesticide administration within the produce trade. 

Earlier this month, EFI introduced that its meals security certification has been acknowledged by the World Meals Security Initiative (GFSI). As such, it’s the solely fresh-produce certification that satisfies a number of retail necessities in a single audit.

Peter O’Driscoll, government director of EFI, stated that incomes GFSI recognition for its certification program is “an important step in making a one-stop store that eliminates the redundancy of a number of audits.

“EFI has aimed to create a system that raises audit requirements whereas decreasing the general burden of time and price for growers,” he stated. “Our ongoing partnership with trade stakeholders, and now with GFSI, is bringing this imaginative and prescient to fruition.”

“The advantage of this to growers is superior,” stated EFI spokesperson LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti, mentioning that main retailers already settle for EFI as a third-party certification for each accountable sourcing and pollinator well being/built-in pest administration. The addition of a GFSI-recognized food-safety certification streamlines the audit course of even additional.

Amalia Zimmerman-Lommel, director of company social accountability at Andrew & Williamson Contemporary Produce/Good Farms, was fast to reward the worth of a complete audit.

“The demand of a number of requirements from totally different retail consumers shortly creates audit fatigue and is expensive and time-consuming for farming operations,” she stated. “EFI certification already satisfies social accountability necessities for almost all of our retail consumers, and the addition of a GFSI-recognized food-safety audit will scale back our variety of audits even additional.”

She additionally identified that EFI certification has already helped lighten loads of that burden by decreasing devoted employees time by greater than 50 % because it pertains to audit work.

Thomas Gremillion, director of meals coverage on the Client Federation of America, stated that in growing a single audit that drives significant advantages for growers, farmworkers, retailers and customers alike, “EFI is poised greater than ever to rework agriculture and enhance the lives of farmworkers.”

“EFI brings all of the items collectively right into a bundle and replaces three totally different audits. It’s a holistic method that makes your organization higher,” stated Margaret Stewart, senior compliance supervisor, Rogue River Farms.

About EFI
EFI offers coaching and EFI certification, which, in flip, promotes the pursuits of staff, growers, retailers, food-service corporations and customers. Some check with it as a “win, win, win” resolution. On the coronary heart of all of that is the assumption that collaboration amongst all the companions — from area to market — will lead to elevated assurances that produce is harvested as safely as attainable in situations that respect the dignity of the employees. 

“Constructing a safer and extra equitable meals system,” is how EFI places it.

With EFI certification, farms can use the inexperienced “Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured” label on their packages. Among the many farms receiving EFI certification are Andrew & Williamson’s Crisalida Berry Farm in Ventura County, CA., Houweling’s Tomatoes, Windset Farms, Keystone Fruit Advertising and marketing, Borton Fruit, Naturesweet Tomatoes, and Alpine Contemporary.

Retail collaborators embody Costco Wholesale and Complete Meals Market.

“Protected and healthful produce begins with devoted coaching of, respect for, and safety of farmworkers,” stated Costco’s vice chairman for common administration Arthur D. Jackson Jr. in a information launch concerning the chain’s settlement with EFI. He additionally stated that EFI “creates worth and improves working situations and company tradition on the identical time.”

An impartial non-profit, EFI receives funding help from The Atlantic Philanthropies, Broad Attain Fund, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Basis, Rosenberg Basis, Cedar Tree Basis, Oxfam America and The Walt Disney Co.

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