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Fair Trade USA Will Not Indicate Percentages

NEW YORK — A National Advertising Review Board panel is recommending that Fair Trade USA require users of its “Fair Trade Certified” seal for composite products to provide additional information to consumers.

NARB determined that the “identification of fair trade sourced ingredients on the ingredients panel, which normally appears on the back or side of the packaging, is not enough to overcome or qualify the implied message of significance conveyed on the front of the package.”

The panel recommended that Fair Trade USA qualify the seal’s message by indicating the relative percentage by weight of fair trade sourced ingredients in order to convey an accurate message to consumers.

Read more: Fair Trade USA Changes Label Policy

In response, Fair Trade USA said it will strengthen labeling requirements for products using FTC ingredients, but it will not indicate percentages of fair trade sourced ingredients.

“Requiring brands to explicitly label the percentage of each individual ingredient violates their right to protect their unique recipes,” said Jenna Larson, communications manager for Fair Trade USA. “Therefore, we chose to meet the NARB’s recommendation by strengthening the overall requirements necessary to use the Fair Trade label in the first place.”

Rather than indicate percentages, FTUSA plans to allow consumers to make the determination by looking for the Fair Trade Certified label, which indicates the product is 100% fair trade certified, or the Fair Trade Certified Ingredients label, which indicates between 20% and 100% fair trade certified content.

According to Larson, if someone buys a multiple ingredient product with the Fair Trade Certified Ingredients label, they’ll be able to tell:

  • The product has between 20% and 100% fair trade content
  • All ingredients that can be fair trade, are
  • For any individual fair trade certified ingredient used in that product, 100% of that ingredient is fair trade certified
  • Each fair trade ingredient is labeled on the package’s ingredient statement, and the consumer can almost always find additional information on the company’s website
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