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Has anyone heard of EFI, it is a scheme promoted by Costco?

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#1 blucas

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 11:39 PM

Has anyone heard of EFI, it is a scheme promoted by Costco. Any experience with it or anyone been trained in the process? Seems to be focused on farms more than food packing facilities. I am told they are seeking GFSI certification.



#2 SQFconsultant

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 03:30 AM

Has anyone heard of EFI, it is a scheme promoted by Costco. Any experience with it or anyone been trained in the process? Seems to be focused on farms more than food packing facilities. I am told they are seeking GFSI certification.

 

Yes, I am familiar with EFI and we thought about offering consulting on it, however we don't really see it as being viable for us or for the industry.

 

Your assumption that is seems more focused on farms than on food packing is correct, it is all about farming with major emphasis on health/welfare of farm workers.

 

There overkill on the H-pandemic was way overdone, not a good advertisement for them at all.

 

I don't see how EFI would go under the GFSI umbrella unless it was an aside certficaiton attached to a main certification.

 

Also, they appear to be hooked into a UN agency type situation, and that to me is reason enough to avoid.


Edited by SQFconsultant, 30 April 2020 - 03:31 AM.

Kind regards,

 

Glenn Oster
 
GOC GROUP / +1.800.793.7042 / Food - Food Packaging - Food Storage/DC

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#3 Kenton_EFI

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 01:39 PM

blucas, we would be happy to provide you all the information you need about EFI through our business development team. A good contact for that would be Rebecca Chavez at rchavez@equitablefood.org. But I would also encourage you to reach out to any of our certified growers to understand the upsides and challenges of engaging in the EFI model. Our list of certified farms is here:  https://equitablefood.org/efi-certified-farms/, and we encourage these growers to always speak frankly about their experiences.

 

Costco holds a seat on our non-profit board but is not the only retailer that conveys additional benefits to EFI-certified growers. Whole Foods, Walmart, Compass Foods, and Kroger also recognize EFI, and we are on track to add to that list this year.

 

As our standards cover food safety in addition to labor and pest management, we are in the process of seeking GFSI recognition.

 

Mr. Oster, as my job title foreshadows, I have a different perspective than you in terms of the value, role, and growth potential of EFI.

 

In the last six years, we have grown from a systems-in-the-room forum for representatives from across the fresh produce value to chain to work in concert on social, food safety, and environmental issues that vex the industry into a market-based workforce training and certification program. We have trained over 3,000 workers, supervisors, and managers on continuous improvement, collaboration, data-gathering, and problem-solving. And we currently have certified growing and packing operations in four countries, representing 25 commodities, 16.3K acres, and over 36,000 workers. Our rapid uptake with growers and adoption by the buying community indicates to me that we are filling a need in this industry; The need for technical skills that allow the knowledge of workers to be leveraged by management in solving complex problems such as foodborne illnesses.  

 

For clarification, we have no relationship with the U.N.

Perhaps what is confusing is the fact that our governance and modus operandi involves all stakeholder groups in the fresh produce value chain. EFI is not something that one part of the industry is doing to another part. Instead, it is a model that comes from having everyone at the table and not settling for anything less than a workforce development product and certification option that rigorously shows a return for workers, producers, and retailers. Avoid that if you must. But our data and experiences are clear that each of these key groups bring value to the conversation. And those conversations lead to the development of and commitment to solutions that reduce risks and strengthen the financial and social sustainability of the industry.

 

 

Kenton Harmer | Managing Director

EQUITABLE FOOD INITIATIVE (EFI) 

+1.831.607.9456 | kharmer@equitablefood.org






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