FOODS & SNACKS
Fair Trade: Eating Ethically
Though the food we eat is necessary for us to survive, some of us choose to eat food that allows us — and those who grow it — to thrive. Fair Trade foods are those that are held to a higher production standard that helps ensure living wages for workers, growers, and producers or processors of the food. It also helps ensure the food is farmed in a way that prevents environmental degradation and destruction. Fair Trade foods are not usually a nutritional choice but rather a social and moral choice.
What Foods Are Fair Trade?
Almost all foods produced around the world can be Fair Trade, but this question is complicated because of who decides what constitutes a Fair Trade product. Though several organizations are recognized as fair trade certifiers, the most common mark seen in the UK is that of Fairtrade International. Some consumers make it a point to buy only certain foods with the Fairtrade mark due to a history of abuse within the cocoa, cotton, coffee, and banana industries.
Where Can I Buy Fair Trade Foods?
Fair Trade foods can be found in most grocery stores around the world. Simply look for a mark on the package that says "Fair Trade" or "Fairtrade," again, these will vary depending on who is certifying the foods, but the most common mark in the UK is that of Fairtrade International. They have a buying guide, so consumers can learn where to get Fairtrade certified foods.
Why Choose Fair Trade?
Consumers choose Fair Trade for a variety of reasons. Though not all Fair Trade products are organic, many are, due in part to the strict environmental standards required of Fair Trade certified ingredients. Similarly, Fair Trade will not certify food that is known to be genetically modified (GM). So buying Fairtrade certified products is an easy way for consumers to avoid GMO foods.
The more common reason consumers choose Fair Trade is for social and moral reasons. Most Fair Trade certifying organizations ensure that farmers, growers, and producers or processors are paid a fair wage based on their country's wage level and the skill required for their work, among other things. Buying Fair Trade is also a way for consumers to ensure the products they purchase were not made or farmed using child labor. Additionally, Fair Trade has environmental standards that require farmers and growers to ensure a sustainable crop, both for the immediate year and for the future.
In short, Fair Trade is a social movement that is conscious of the impact food production has on the environment and on the lives and livelihoods of those who grow and handle the food.
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