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Equitable Food Initiative – EFI

Create better workplaces, drive business performance, and meet retailers’ criteria for social responsibility.

What is Equitable Food Initiative – EFI?

The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) standards are a comprehensive set of criteria aimed at address social responsibility practices such as fair labor, ensuring food safety, and fostering collaboration in the fresh produce industry. These standards were developed collaboratively by growers, retailers, unions, NGOs, and consumer rights groups to address the most pressing issues facing farmworkers and the agricultural sector.

EFI Food Safety Standard is GFSI-benchmarked. The standard meets multiple retail requirements, and it is the only certification for fresh produce that satisfies requisites for responsible sourcing, food safety and pest management/IPM in a single audit.

EFI is GFSI-recognized for the following scopes:

  • BI Farming of Plants (other than grains and pulses)
  • BIII Pre-process Handling of Plant Products

How NSF can work with you?

As a grower you face a variety of challenges, and we are here to work with you to achieve the golden standard for social responsibility in fresh produce.

NSF is qualified to audit your company against the EFI Food Safety Standards v2.0 (ANAB accredited) and the EFI Pest Management Standards v3.0 (ANAB accredited) and partner with another certification body to deliver the EFI Social Standard Certification v2.1.

Farming operations are audited according to the EFI Certification Standards specific to the operation and defined in the Audit Scope. The Certification custom audit approach allows farming operations to choose the audit option that works best for their business and fulfills customer requirements.

After a successful audit, NSF will issue a certificate valid for 3-year, and perform two on-site annual verification audits to verifies continual satisfactory performance, being the second one an unannounced audit.

Certification process

Wondering how to start your process? Here are a few steps to outline the certification process for EFI Standards:

  1. Grower Mapping: EFI will work with your business to better understand what the requirements for your farm are to successfully achieve the certification.
  2. Training: In collaboration with EFI Workforce Development Team, you will develop a Leadership Team together that will be trained and represent all different parts in the workforce. This team will be responsible for preparing the farm to attend the EFI Standards requirements.
  3. Certification: a certification body such NSF will perform an on-site audit to assess the compliance against the EFI standards. Before issuing the certificate, valid for 3 years, all non-conformances must be closed.
  4. Use of the EFI label: certified growers can use the EFI label after the licensing agreement is signed. See more details below.
  5. Annual verification: during the 3-year cycle, 2 annual audits will take place to assure your continual compliance to the standard.
  6. Re-certification audit: after the 3-year cycle, a full certification audit will take place on-site and a new certificate will be issue after any corrective actions and non-conformances are addressed and closed.

Who should get certified?

Certification under the Equitable Food Initiative is sought by fresh produce growers, particularly those in the fruit and vegetable sectors, and packhouses, who are committed to upholding high standards of social responsibility, food safety, and sustainability. By obtaining EFI certification, growers demonstrate their dedication to ethical labor practices, safe food production, and environmental stewardship, thereby enhancing their credibility and competitiveness in the marketplace.

EFI label - Equitable Food Initiative

Certified growers will be allowed to use the EFI label and trade name on their fruits and vegetables, to showcase your level of transparency and commitment to provide safe food for consumers.

Learn more about EFI Certification Standards

The EFI Standards outline the criteria necessary for obtaining and retaining EFI certification. These standards encompass a comprehensive set of guidelines and indicators that farms must adhere to demonstrate compliance with EFI's rigorous certification requirements that integrate worker voice and foster a collaborative workplace culture.

Visit the EFI website to learn more about each standard:

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