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Another Victory for Farm Workers

February 10, 2012

Trader Joe’s, which operates 367 neighborhood stores across the country, is the latest food corporation to support the Fair Food Program, promoting greater social responsibility in the produce industry. The program has been pushed by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers that represents about 4,000 tomato pickers in rural Florida, as well as other organizations in the Alliance for Fair Food that receive support from the Public Welfare Foundation.   

In addition to providing an extra penny for every pound picked by the workers, the Fair Food Program represents a set of principles that seeks to eliminate abusive treatment of workers – including slavery – and establishes a cooperative complaint resolution system and a health and safety program, among other things.

The Coalition has signed penny-per-pound surcharge agreements with several major corporate buyers of tomatoes in the past decade, such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Whole Foods. And in November, 2010, it reached a milestone agreement with the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange to adopt fair food principles affecting 90 percent of the state’s tomato industry.

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