Coalition of Immokalee Workers Reveals Official Label for Ethically-Grown Tomatoes, Long-Awaited Milestone

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has officially released a Fair Foodlabel to help shoppers identify which tomatoes come from ethical farms.

The label will be available to all grocery stores and restaurants that participate in the Fair Food Program. Participants in the Program pay a small premium when they buy Florida tomatoes, with the premium going to increase wages for farmworkers. They 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. The Fair Food Program has been called “the best workplace monitoring program in the US,” in the New York Times and “one of the great human rights success stories of our day,” in the Washington Post.

“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,” continued Salucio. “We couldn’t be more proud of this label. It symbolizes the new day for workers in agriculture that we, as farmworkers and in partnership with consumers across the country, have fought so hard to make real.”

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.

The label is a productof the Fair Food Program, which was created out of the success of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)’s Campaign for Fair Food. There are currently 12 retail food giants participating in the 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, including the CIW and the Fair Food Program, 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 peak of the film, available here.

Food Chains, which stars Eva Longoria, Eric Schlosser, and members of the CIW, will open in theaters nationwide, distributed by Screen Media, on November 21. It will also be released on iTunes on November 21st and VOD starting November 27, Thanksgiving Day, and in a Spanish language version.