Equitable Food Initiative
Food safety advocates have long recognized that the working conditions and training of foodworkers (on the farm and in slaughter and processing plants) can have a significant impact on food safety: overworked and underpaid employees can't focus on ensuring that the food is safe.
A new collaboration between the Center for Science in the Public Interest and farm worker groups like Oxfam America, United Farmworker Justice, and Farmworker Ministry aims to improve the lives of farm workers and the safety of the produce they pick. The newly-formed Equitable Food Initiative developed a set of food safety, labor, and pesticide standards that goes far beyond anything on the books today.
CSPI is already working with a number of major industry partners—including Costco—and hope to expand shortly. Soon, consumers will be able to select food bearing an EFI label that indicates that it was harvested under these higher standards—meaning that food safety, environmental sustainability, and the welfare of the men and women in the fields and processing facilities was a priority.
EFI's food safety standards, developed by CSPI and Consumer Federation of America, recognize that farm workers are the first line of defense against contaminated food. Training these workers to recognize food safety risks and empowering them to act to promote a food-safe culture is a common-sense approach to preventing foodborne illness. Ensuring that these same employees receive appropriate training on sanitation and access to hygienic facilities is a meaningful quality-of-life improvement for workers and can lead to safer food for consumers.
To read more about the EFI program, please visit: http://www.equitablefood.net/