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Fair Trade Expands

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bananas.jpgAmerican consumers will soon start to see more products labeled Fair Trade. A lot more. This week Transfair USA, the only independent certifier for Fair Trade in the U.S., announced it would expand to include all products covered by Europe’s largest certifier, Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International. New categories include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oils and spices. There’s also one labeled “sportsballs” (anyone?). Altogether, more than two dozen products will be added for Fair Trade certification in the U.S.

“Now, with public awareness of Fair Trade Certified high, the time is right for us to allow U.S. consumers access to more Fair Trade Certified products,” said Paul Rice, CEO of TransFair, in a statement.

Indeed, this outgrowth is the logical next step for a program that’s been growing in leaps and bounds since debuted in the U.S. ten years ago. Now it’s a nearly $1 billion industry that has a solid reputation for environmental sustainability and helping workers in developing countries.

Especially in this economy, with products typically cheaper than organic yet still conveying the sort of wellness message that shoppers are looking for, Fair Trade seems poised to excel.

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