To celebrate Food Day 2014, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) issued its official label for ethically-grown tomatoes yesterday. The Fair Food label will help shoppers identify which tomatoes come from farms that support fair pay and ethical treatment of workers in the fields.
The label will be available to all grocery stores and restaurants that participate in the CIW’s Fair Food Program. Participating companies pay a small premium for Florida tomatoes, which increases wages for the workers who harvest the tomatoes. The companies also commit to a worker-created code of conduct to ensure safe working conditions and prevent forced labor, sexual harassment, and child labor in the fields.
“We have waited nearly five years before revealing this label to the world today,” said Cruz Salucio of the CIW. “Over those years, we have been doing the hard, day-by-day work of building the Fair Food Program in Florida’s fields — educating workers about their rights, investigating complaints, and identifying and eliminating bad actors and bad practices — so that today we can stand behind the fair conditions and effective monitoring process that this label represents.”
Whole Foods and Compass Brands, a major presence on university campuses, will be the first members of the Fair Food Program to display the label in their stores and dining facilities. “We couldn’t be more proud of this label,” Salucio said. “It symbolizes the new day for workers in agriculture that we, as farmworkers in partnership with consumers across the country, have fought so hard to make real.”
There are currently 12 retail food giants participating in the CIW’s Fair Food Program, including Subway, McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Chipotle, and Walmart. The founders of the CIW were recently honored with the Clinton Global Citizen Award, presented by Eva Longoria. Longoria has been a longtime supporter of farmworkers, and recently executive-produced Food Chains, a documentary film that chronicles the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food.
“The Fair Food label is a historic moment for both consumers and for workers. In an era when there is so much interest in food, this label will allow consumers to know that the products it represents were picked by people in what has been called the ‘best working environment in American agriculture’ on the front page of the New York Times,” said Food Chains director Sanjay Rawal. In support of the label launch, the filmmakers have released a sneak peek of the film, available here.
Food Chains, which stars Eva Longoria, Eric Schlosser, and members of the CIW, will open in theaters nationwide on November 21. It will also be released on iTunes on November 21 and VOD starting November 27, Thanksgiving Day, and in a Spanish language version.