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OAKLAND, Calif. – A consumer advocacy group whose criticism prompted Fair Trade USA to revise its multiple ingredient policy, is encouraged by a new draft policy but says there is room for improvement.
“By and large I think it’s a positive step but I do hope [Fair Trade USA] can incorporate some of the changes we’re requesting,” Ryan Zinn, campaign director of the Organic Consumer Association’s Fair World Project, told SN.
The draft policy reserves use of the full Fair Trade Certified label for items with 100% fair trade certified contents, and outlines requirements for a new Fair Trade Certified Ingredients label.
To bear the Fair Trade Ingredient seal, products would have to meet these requirements:
– 100% of the ingredient commonly associated with a product must be fair trade certified. So in the case of a chocolate bar, 100% fair trade certified cocoa must be used.
– For any individual fair trade certified ingredient used in the product, 100% of that ingredient must be certified. If a product contains fair trade certified vanilla extract, for example, all of the vanilla extract must be fair trade certified.
– The product must contain at least 20% fair trade certified content in total, and all ingredients that can be fair trade certified, must be fair trade certified if the ingredient is commercially available.
Fair World Project is encouraged by improvements made to an earlier policy that would have, in some cases, certified as fair trade products with at least 25% fair trade ingredients, even if they also contained conventional components for which fair trade alternatives were commercially available. But the group believes that the Fair Trade Ingredient label as is presently conceived is misleading since it conveys to consumers that the product is at least majority fair trade.