Food Justice


Highly Meaningful

Food Justice Certified is a highly meaningful label. It is backed by standards that set a high bar for ensuring fair treatment of workers, fair pricing for farmers, and fair business practices. It assures consumers that they are supporting farmers who are earning a living wage and supporting farms and businesses that treat their workers fairly. The label is verified.

Is the label verified?

Yes

Is the meaning of the label consistent?

Yes

Are the label standards publicly available?

Yes

Is information about the organization publicly available?

Yes

Is the organization free from conflict of interest?

Yes

Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

Yes

This label can be found on: Meat, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and grains

www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org/en/learn-more/?pane=purchase

ORGANIZATION: Agricultural Justice Project

url: www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org

LABEL STANDARDS: www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org/en/learn-more/?pane=standards

What this label means 

The Agricultural Justice Project, the organization behind the label, states that it works to transform the existing agricultural system and seeks empowerment, justice, and fairness for all who labor from farm to retail.

The Food Justice Certified label means that the food was certified to meet the organization’s standards for fair labor and fair trade practices. The label indicates that farmers received a fair price for their products, a price that covers a living wage for the farmers and their workers.

The standards require benefits that farm workers usually do not receive, such as workers’ compensation, disability, unemployment coverage, social security, sick leave (unpaid), and maternity/paternity leave. The standards also include comprehensive requirements to ensure safe working conditions for all workers. In addition, there are environmental standards, and only certified organic farms carry the Food Justice Certified label at this time.

CONSUMER REPORTS EVALUATION

How meaningful is this label? 

Highly meaningful.

The Food Justice Certified label assures consumers that they are supporting farmers who are earning a living wage and supporting farms and businesses that treat their workers fairly.

Fair prices and living wages are clearly defined and required. Unlike some other fair trade labels that only vaguely define “living wages,” Food Justice Certified standards define living wages as the net wage earned during a country’s legal maximum workweek, but not more than 40 hours. This living wage provides for the needs of an average family unit (including nutrition, clothing, health care, education, potable water, child care, transportation, housing, and energy), plus savings (10 percent of income).

Farmworkers also receive workers compensation, disability, and unemployment coverage, social security, sick leave (unpaid at least), and maternity or paternity leave. The standards require rest days (one day of rest for every seven days worked) and ensure that any work in addition to a 48-hour workweek is voluntary (extra overtime pay is not a minimum requirement but a goal of continual improvement).

The label is unique among fair trade and social responsibility labels because standards cover workers along the entire supply chain, from the farm where the food is grown to the companies that process and market the foods, to the retailers that sell it.

The label sets a high bar because it covers all workers, including migrant workers and seasonal workers, on all farms, regardless of size.

Food Justice Certified is one of the few labels that do not allow “split operations” (which produce both certified and noncertified products). A farm, company, or retailer has to be entirely certified before any of its products can bear the label.

The environmental responsibility component of the standards is also strong. At this time, only certified organic farms can carry the Food Justice Certified label. It is one of the only fair trade/social responsibility labels that prohibits the cultivation of genetically engineered (GMO) crops on the farm and the presence of GMOs in the final product bearing the label.

Is the label verified?

Yes.

The label is verified by an approved certifying agency. Farms and businesses are inspected annually. Currently, only one certifying agency, QCS, has fully adopted the Food Justice Certified program and is approved by the Agricultural Justice Project.

Farmworkers are encouraged to contact the certifiers with concerns or complaints and can do so confidentially through representatives of local farmworker organizations who are present at annual inspections.

There is a possibility of unannounced inspections if deemed necessary by the certifier.

Is the meaning of the label consistent?

Yes. All required standards must be met, and minor non-conformances must be corrected. Major non-conformances result in loss of certification.

Are the label standards publicly available?

Yes. Standards are available on the Agricultural Justice Project website.

www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org/en/learn-more/?pane=standards

Is information about the organization publicly available?

Yes. The Agricultural Justice Project is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.

Board of Directors: Yes. The members of the Board of Directors, the Advisory Council, and the Standards Committee are listed on the website.

Financial Information: Yes. Financial information for the Agricultural Justice Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is publicly available.

Is the organization free from conflict of interest?

Yes.

Standards development: Yes. There is a conflict of interest policy for members of the various committees that are involved in setting the standards, including the committee that decides on the final standards.

Verification: Yes. A conflict of interest policy for certifiers, including inspectors, ensures that the verification process is free from conflict of interest.

Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

Yes.

Standards development: Yes. The standards were developed with broad stakeholder input and participation. The first draft was created by individuals at four non-profit organizations involved in organic agriculture and farmworker justice. Multiple drafts were shared with organic farmers and farmer organizations, non-profit organizations, eco-labeling experts, labor and farm labor organizations, and international organizations.

Standards updates: Yes. Standards are updated every five years. The proposals are drafted by the Standards Committee, which consists of farmers, workers (food system workers and farmworkers), retailers, food businesses (manufacturers, processors, or brand holders), and indigenous communities.

The proposed revised standards are posted on the website for public comment, and the organization posts a document explaining how each comment was addressed in the final revision.