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Reading Food Labels: Fair Trade Certified

Posted Aug 13 2009 6:04pm
Part three of the Reading Food Labels is Fair Trade Certified.

What is Fair Trade Certified?

  • Fair Trade Certified is an innovative, market-based approach to sustainable development that helps farmers and workers in the global South benefit from international trade. The Fair Trade Certified label offers consumers a simple way to know that their products were produced in a responsible manner.

Who benefits from Fair Trade Certified products?

  • Farmers among Fair Trade Certified producer groups are guaranteed a fair price for their crop, and are empowered to compete in the global marketplace through direct, long-term contracts with international buyers. This market access lifts farming families from poverty through trade – not aid – keeping food on the table, children in school and families on their land.
  • Workers on Fair Trade Certified farms are guaranteed fair wages and safe working conditions, and forced child labor is prohibited.
  • Producers on Fair Trade Certified farms are also paid an additional social premium for use on long-term community and business development projects such as healthcare, scholarships, women’s leadership initiatives and micro-finance programs, as voted on by the farmers and workers themselves.

How does Fair Trade Benefit the Consumer?

  • The Fair Trade Certified label is a consumer’s guarantee that the product they purchase contains ingredients that have been sourced using Fair Trade certification standards.

What is TransFair USA?

  • TransFair USA is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade Certified products in the U.S. TransFair USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified products and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages. TransFair USA certifies coffee, tea, vanilla, cocoa, chocolate, rice, sugar, bananas and flowers. Visit

Snapshot of Fair Trade Certified’s Impact

  • Fair Trade Certified imports (measured in overall pounds) grew by 69 percent between 2005 and 2006. Since 1999, TransFair USA has certified nearly 217 million pounds of coffee, cocoa, tea, rice, sugar, vanilla, bananas, mangoes, pineapples and grapes.
  • Fair Trade Certified products have generated more than $100 million in additional, above-market revenue for farmers in 60 developing countries throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia since 1999.
  • Fair Trade Certified products benefit more than 1.4 million farmers and farm workers in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.
  • Nearly 700 U.S. companies now sell Fair Trade Certified products in more than 40,000 retail locations nationwide, including supermarkets, club stores, cafés, restaurants, specialty food stores, college campuses and faith-based organizations.
  • Fair Trade Certified products have won some of the food industry’s top quality awards including recognition from the Cup of Excellence, Ken Davids’ Coffee Review, Food & Wine magazine, the American Culinary Institute, The Times of London and Progressive Grocer magazine.

Where Can I Buy Fair Trade Certified Products?

In addition to the retail outlets listed below, Fair Trade Certified products are sold in independent and small-scale supermarkets, cafés, restaurants and numerous other retail outlets across the country.

10,000 Villages

Quality Food Centers





Caribou coffee

Sam’s Club

Cost Plus World Market

Seattle’s Best Coffee

Dominick’s Finer Foods

Shaw’s Supermarkets

Dunkin Donuts


Fred Meyer

Stop ‘n’ Shop





H-E-B Grocery Stores

Trader Joe’s

Harris Teeter

Tully’s Coffee



Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Whole Foods


Wild Oats

Whole Food Vitamins

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