WASHINGTON – Equitable Food Initiative, the capacity-building and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer groups, is excited to announce the expansion of its certification offerings, reducing the burden growers face by allowing for a customized audit approach.
EFI has been certifying farms to its rigorous social responsibility, food safety and integrated pest management standards for nearly a decade and was proud to earn recognition from the Global Food Safety Initiative in 2022. EFI will continue to offer the one-stop audit for these three sets of standards, but will now also offer audit options designed specifically to reduce time, cost and burdens for grower-shippers.
“It has always been a priority for EFI to minimize redundancy in the audit process. Our new customized approach provides flexibility for growers to choose the scope of audit they need to meet their customers’ requirements,” shared EFI Executive Director Peter O’Driscoll.
The core differentiator of EFI certification, which is the creation and training of a worker-manager collaborative team, remains the same. Beginning on February 1, 2024, grower-shippers will have the flexibility to choose whether to include GFSI-recognized food safety and IPM standards in the EFI certification audit. The new options include:
“We’ve heard from many growers who would like to pursue EFI certification but already have a GFSI-recognized food safety or IPM certification from another program that they want to maintain,” O’Driscoll added. “As a multistakeholder initiative, EFI is always committed to serving the interests of everyone in the supply chain, and we are happy to offer an approach that strengthens labor standards while building on what growers are already doing. These changes will reduce the time and expense of audits for growers seeking a customized option.”
“The cornerstone of the EFI program, a functional and collaborative worker-manager team, will still be required on each EFI-certified farming operation. However, with the customized audit approach, we can offer a variety of options that will help eliminate audit repetition or redundant requirements,” added Madelyn Edlin, marketing and sales manager at EFI.
EFI has helped educate and train worker-manager collaborative teams for 33 grower-shipper companies on more than 80 farming operations. Through the EFI certification program, more than 4,000 farmworkers and managers have been trained in problem-solving, communication and conflict resolution strategies, helping to improve labor and safety for more than 55,000 workers. To learn more about becoming EFI certified, or to promote EFI-certified produce, visit equitablefood.org.
Equitable Food Initiative is a capacity-building and certification nonprofit that works to improve the lives of farmworkers and drive business performance by integrating worker voice and engagement throughout the supply chain. As a multistakeholder organization, EFI brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to create assessment, training and organizational development programs that support continuous improvement and address the industry’s most pressing problems. For more information about Equitable Food Initiative, visit equitablefood.org.