Certified-organic produce company, Harbinger Group LLC dba Misionero, said its Gonzales, Calif., facility is the nation’s first processing-only facility to receive Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) certification.
Monterey, Calif.-based Harbinger acquired Misionero Vegetables in 2016 and combined its other businesses – Green Wave Farms, Vertical Foods, Epic Foods and Fresh Produce Partners – under the Misionero name, and currently sells organic produce under the Earth Greens Organic, Garden Life, and Green Wave Farms labels.
Misionero’s Gonzales facility was certified organic for handling in July 2017 by QAI and certified for crops in 2012 by Organic Certifiers Inc. (OCI). Misionero said its Yuma, Ariz., facility, which was certified organic for handling by QAI in June 2017 and certified organic for crops in 2013 by OCI, is also in the process of obtaining EFI certification.
Washington, D.C.-based EFI is a nonprofit that certifies produce farms that comply with its standards for labor practices, food safety and pest management to use its “Responsibly Grown. Farmworker Assured.” label.
Since 2012, EFI has worked to build its social assurance program in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Guatemala. Dozens of grower-shipper companies are applying the EFI Leadership Team model, improving both the bottom line and the lives of 35,000 farmworkers.
Misionero said it is currently working with its growing partners to bring the first EFI-labeled leafy greens into the marketplace. Misionero vice president Pete Donlon serves on the EFI standards committee.
“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.”