California leafy greens processing facility first to be EFI-certified
Following a two-year quest, organic leafy greens producer Misionero’s California processing facility has achieved Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) certification.
The facility, located in Gonzales, is the first processing-only facility in the U.S. to become EFI-certified, according to a press release. It’s also the first EFI-certified operation in the Salinas Valley. Misionero is currently working to get its Yuma, Arizona location certified as well.
To acquire the certification, Misionero received the required leadership and skill development training, as well as an audit by a third-party certifying body. Misionero is currently partnering with its growing partners to bring the first EFI-labeled leafy greens into the marketplace.
Pete Donlon, vice president at Misionero, has been involved with EFI since its inception in 2015, and serves on the EFI standards committee. EFI certification holds the most rigorous standards in the industry for labor practices, food safety and pest management to create a more transparent food chain, grow safer food and develop healthier work environments.
“At Misionero, we’re constantly working to build and maintain a company culture focused on our employees and customers,” said Donlon. “We could not be more proud of what has been accomplished. Our EFI leadership team is the key to meeting the EFI requirements, as well as ensuring we operate as a cohesive group, tackle issues head-on and live the standards every day.”
An EFI certification establishes greater transparency within the produce supply chain. While the program requires significant effort to instill a culture of continuous improvement, it provides growers competitive advantages in the marketplace by developing worker-management collaboration, meeting buyer requirements and highlighting their best-in-class practices to consumers.
“Misionero has proven its leadership and dedication to its organization and industry by becoming the first EFI certified operation in the California Salinas Valley — the salad bowl of the world,” said Kenton Harmer, director of certification for EFI. “Achieving EFI certification proves the commitment of both Misionero and its staff. The ability to work together to meet the industry’s most rigorous standards is a testament to the collaborative culture they’ve built.”
To learn more about Misionero’s leadership and innovative practices, and to see the wide range of products offered, visit www.misionero.com.
Equitable Food Initiative is a nonprofit certification and skill-building organization that seeks to increase transparency in the food supply chain and improve the lives of farmworkers through a team-based approach to training and continuous improvement practices. EFI brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to solve the most pressing issues facing the fresh produce industry. Its unparalleled approach sets standards for labor practices, food safety and pest management while engaging workers at all levels on the farm to produce Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured fruits and vegetables. For more information about Equitable Food Initiative, visit www.equitablefood.org.