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Ingredients > Food safety and labeling

Fair Trade USA revises multiple ingredient labeling policy

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 19-Jan-2012

Fair Trade USA has revised its policy for labeling products with multiple ingredients, introducing a new ‘Fair Trade Certified Ingredients’ label alongside an updated logo.

Fair Trade USA’s new policy for fair trade certification was due to come into effect on January 1, 2012, but it has issued a new draft policy , which is open for comments for 60 days.

The organization drew criticism from other fair trade organizations late last year for a proposal to allow some products to carry a Fair Trade label if they contained just 20% fair trade ingredients, even if they contained non-fair trade ingredients for which fair trade alternatives were available.

However, its revised policy includes two new labels for certified products, one for products that contain 100% certified Fair Trade ingredients, and another ‘Fair Trade Certified Ingredients’ label, which includes a banner with the word ‘ingredients’ across the bottom of the new logo (pictured).

President and CEO of Fair Trade USA Paul Rice said: “The revised Ingredients Policy reflects our organization’s commitment to include more farmers and workers in the Fair Trade model, and our desire to raise the bar for certification transparency.

It’s designed to offer more Fair Trade farmers the opportunity to sell their products into the global market, enable more companies to make a meaningful impact through responsible sourcing, and accurately communicate to shoppers the social and environmental benefits of purchasing Fair Trade Certified products.”

To qualify for the new Fair Trade Certified Ingredients logo, 100% of the ingredient commonly associated with a product must be Fair Trade certified – for example, cocoa in a chocolate bar; 100% of any individual Fair Trade Certified ingredient must be certified; and at least 20% of the product’s ingredients must be certified, and all ingredients that can be Fair Trade Certified must be certified, as long as ingredients are commercially available.

Under the revised policy, only products with 100 percent Fair Trade Certified ingredients can use the full label.

“The two versions of the label, Fair Trade Certified and Fair Trade Certified Ingredients, clearly highlight the difference between products with varying percentages of Fair Trade Certified ingredients,” the organization said.

The revised policy was developed in response to a two-month consultation period with Fair Trade stakeholders, Fair Trade USA said. It is encouraging brands to convert to the updated, globally registered logo by October 2012.

Director of Business Development, CPG at Fair Trade USA, Cate Baril, said: “Our new policy provides a point of entry for both farmers and businesses, and encourages companies to include more Fair Trade Certified ingredients in their products.”

The Fair Trade Certified label is now found on more than 10,000 products throughout the United States, Fair Trade USA said. It claims that since 2009, sales of products containing Fair Trade Certified ingredients have resulted in more than $3.4 million in premiums to support the development of farming communities around the globe.

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