Culinary Education: All About Fair Trade Food

Fair Trade Coffee. The fair trade food movement involves social and market advocacy that aims to promote improved trading conditions in developing countries. Fair trade food advocates wish to enforce higher social, environmental, and political standards revolving around the exports in developing countries. The movement emphasizes higher prices for exporters on commodities, such as cocoa, sugar, bananas, honey, wine, chocolate, fresh produce, flowers, precious metals, and textiles. It has evolved to form several recognized organizations that specialize in the certification of fair trade, including Fair Trade International, Fair Trade USA, IMO, and Eco-Social.

Fair Trade Basics

The fair trade movement prides itself on meeting several standards. Proponents of the fair trade movement focus on worker safety and the general welfare of all of those members employed at the production facility. Fair trade goods promise fair wages for workers, safer working conditions, and the complete eradication of child labor. Fair trade suppliers must also meet the environmentally friendly and sustainable standards beset by the movement's overseeing organizations. In addition, fair trade suppliers must contribute to their local communities by making goods that promote recycling through reinforced consumer education.

Many companies that meet the fair trade agreement will heavily emphasize the humanization of their work forces, introduce their consumers to the individuals who actually create the items they buy, and demonstrate the benefits of the purchase to their consumers. The logistics of fair trade encompass integrated supply chain and certification, with the former concentrated on beneficial practices beginning with produce to the final sale. The latter emphasizes the partnership between two individuals who have a product they wish to sell, but they lack the capacity for mass production.

Fair Trade Certification

In order for products to be certified as fair trade, they must meet certain standards set forth by fair trade certification organizations. The standards that must be met include labor, developmental, and environmental standards. The inspection and certification of products is carried out by an independent body called FLO-CERT. FLO-CERT was created by the Fairtrade International organization in 2004 and works to ensure that both traders and producers follow fair trade standards.

Organic Versus Fair Trade

Organic producers generally create their goods without using synthetic chemicals or pesticides. Therefore, people who eat organic foods will not ingest these harmful chemicals and byproducts. In addition, organic producers promote environmentally friendly and sustainable production practices. Organic farmers also endure less chemical exposure than their conventional counterparts. Organic producers differ from proponents of the fair trade movement, because it emphasizes the welfare of the workers who created the product. The fair trade movement regulates the production of goods and minimizes the exploitation of workers in developing countries. Organic producers can meet the fair trade agreement qualifying them for certification and vice versa.

World Organizations Involved in Fair Trade

The Fair Trade movement has garnered international recognition, which has led to the formation of many prominent organizations. Many of these organizations remain dedicated to the promotion of fair trade values in developing countries. The most renowned fair trade organizations include Trans Fair USA, the Fair Trade Federation, the Fair Trade Resource Network, the World Fair Trade Organization, and the Fair Labeling Organization, International. Some of these organizations emphasize consumer education, while some focus on promoting sound production practices. Others may provide the necessary materials to convert production facilities to meet fair trade requirements, while others focus on certifying products as fair trade compliant.

Benefits of Buying Fair Trade

Fair trade organizations have made an impact on how consumers view the way production facilities treat their workers and the environment. Despite these changes, the fair trade movement still faces enormous challenges in promoting awareness to those uninformed about the exploitation of workers in developing countries. Even the awakened public may not fully understand the benefits of moving forward in support of fair trade. While conviction remains important, change makes the bigger impact. Therefore, customers should remain aware that fair trade promotes the regulation of imports and exports, which leads to the production of quality products for our everyday use. Fair trade converts the consumer into a powerful force that can radically change the way companies conduct business. By instilling this awareness, businesses and companies can turn their heads to more environmentally sound practices.

How to Find Fair Trade Food Items

Consumers can distinguish fair trade items from conventional productions by looking for the label that bears the fair trade mark. The fair trade mark may have different names from various organizations, such as Transfair, the FairTrade Foundation, and Max Havelaar. Consumers can find out the applicable label in their country by referring to the Fair Trade Labeling Organization's database. The Fair Trade Mark is the label that certifies a product that meets the standards of fair trade, according to the FLO system. The Fair Trade Labeling Organization mainly covers food products, such as sugar, coffee, tea, mangoes, orange juice, bananas, chocolate, cocoa, and honey. In addition, it also covers processed foods where it includes a key ingredient covered by the FLO system.

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