McDonald's to pay more for Florida tomatoes

by Staff
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ATLANTA — McDonald’s will pay a penny more per pound for Florida tomatoes used in its U.S. restaurants.

The decision, effective with the 2007 growing season, is part of an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to help increase the wages of the farm workers who harvest tomatoes.

"We have always respected the C.I.W.’s commitment to enhancing conditions for the workers," said J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, senior vice-president of supply chain management for McDonald’s. "We’ve made progress with our suppliers through our existing Florida tomato grower standards, which hold the growers accountable to standards higher than the industry, but that was only the beginning. We believe more needs to be done. McDonald’s produce suppliers are required to purchase tomatoes only from those growers that have adopted our standards."

McDonald’s suppliers and the C.I.W. will work together to help develop new standards for Florida tomato growers and to increase the participation of farm workers in monitoring supplier compliance. They also would like to see farm workers participate in worker complaint investigations and dispute resolution. Additionally, the groups will work to develop a third-party mechanism to carry out monitoring and investigative functions. This third-party system will also allow for other members of the food service and retail food industry that buy Florida tomatoes to participate as well.

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