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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Del Monte Fresh Produce Co.'s Costa Rican banana farms have been fully certified under the SA8000 standard for social accountability.
The certification covers Del Monte's 6,500 hectares of banana plantations, along with its field and administrative work force of 4,000 employees. It's also the first division within Del Monte Fresh Produce worldwide to receive the SA8000 certification.
LATU Sistemas S.A., an accredited external auditor, awarded the certification after inspecting the areas of production, harvesting and packing bananas, administration, research, technical assistance, quality assurance, engineering, and maintenance.
"SA8000 is a comprehensive international standard that ensures that workers are treated according to basic human rights principles," said Thomas R. Young, the company's v.p./research and development and agricultural services. "This is further demonstration of Del Monte's commitment to the welfare and working conditions of our employees in our farming operations."
Del Monte Fresh Produce is already certified in the management systems for environmental protection (ISO 14001), the Good Agricultural Practices and Food Safety provisions defined in the EurepGap Protocol. The addition of the SA8000 certification signifies the completion of external certifications that distinguish the company as an organization of the highest ethical values in these socially sensitive areas.
Del Monte Fresh Produce is one of the world's leading vertically integrated producers, marketers, and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and distributor of prepared fruit and vegetables, juices, beverages, snacks, and desserts in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Fresh Del Monte markets its products worldwide under the Del Monte brand, a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness, and reliability.