Does EFI get paid to look the other way from companies it certifies?

Does the Equitable Food Initiative get paid to look the other way, to ignore workplace violations of companies that it certifies?

It sure looks that way. We don’t have all the facts yet, but a reader sent us a tip on our Facebook page that needs to be checked.

Our new video, “Alpine’s Rotten Asparagus,” shows how the Florida-based Alpine Fresh has joined the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), which we have shown to be a UFW pressure group tied to big growers and retailers. The EFI leadership is intertwined with UFW leaders.

EFI says it’s supposed to certify, among other things, that produce has been grown under safe and ethical working conditions. However, a Pick Justice reader sent us the following message on Facebook, which says,

“Alpine Fresh has a processing facility in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. Its name is Empacadora de Mango del Noroeste and it is managed by Manuel Rivera. It’s the first facility to be audited by EFI and passed.

“And just by chance the person who worked with the auditors of EFI is Manuel’s sister who works illegally in the processing facility and recently works part time with EFI and at the same time at Empacadora de Mango, which is owned by Alpine Fresh. And Manuel [has] another sister working for EFI.

“It’s all one big family, Alpine and EFI, with cross purposes. EFI is a system that gets paid not to see any wrong acts by a facility, farm or family. At the time of the audit in Tecate there were under-age and illegal workers. You won’t see that in the report!”

We edited this report for clarity but have not verified the facts. See a screen shot of the original message. We are posting it here for the public interest, so that others may follow up and we can get to the bottom of this soon. We are protecting the identity of our source.