This seal can be found on

Beans and grains, chocolate, coffee, fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, honey, nuts and oilseeds, processed foods, sugar, tea, wine and spirits.

Fair Trade USA has a shopping guide to find products with the Fair Trade Certified seal: https://www.fairtradecertified.org/products/shopping-guides

ORGANIZATION: Fair Trade USA

url: http://fairtradeusa.org

LABEL STANDARDShttps://www.fairtradecertified.org/business/standards

Note: this review is for Fair Trade Certified food and beverages only, not for apparel or seafood. Fair Trade USA also certifies apparel and home goods, body care products, flowers and plants, sports balls.

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What this seal means 

Percentage of the product’s contents that need to be certified

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Is the seal verified?

Yes. Fair Trade USA contracts with third party Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) that adhere to a set of criteria in order to certify products to the Agricultural Production Standard. CABs review applications, scope audits, conduct audits, write reports, make certification decisions, manage corrective action plans, and issue certificates.

Is verification free from conflict of interest?

Yes. Fair Trade USA has a conflict of interest policy for its Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs). CABs must ensure that there is no conflict of interest and require that all personnel, including contract auditors, sign a conflict of interest statement. 

Third-party on-site inspection

Yes. The verification process includes an annual on-site audit.

Possibility of third-party unannounced on-site inspections

Yes. In certain instances, the CAB may conduct follow-up audits outside of the regular certification cycle of evaluation, surveillance and recertification audits. These audits may be announced or unannounced.

Farmworker interviews during inspections

Yes. On-site inspections include interviews with farmworkers.

Grievance process for farmworkers

Yes. A grievance policy and procedure is in place and communicated to workers verbally and in writing. The policy allows for anonymous complaints, ensures resolutions occur in a timely manner, and includes an appeals procedure.

Is the meaning of the seal consistent?

Overall, the meaning of the seal is consistent. While initially Fair Trade USA had different sets of standards depending on the type of farm, the organization released a single standard for farms in May 2017.

However, there are still some inconsistencies because requirements in the Agricultural Production Standard differ depending on the size of the farm. Some criteria that are required for large farms are not required for small farms but are considered “best practice” (large farms are defined as more than 25 permanent workers and more than 100 total workers on-site at the management unit at any time, and small farms are defined as five or fewer permanent workers and no more than 25 total workers on-site at the management unit at any time).

Are the standards publicly available?

Yes. All Fair Trade USA standards are available on the website.

Is information about the organization publicly available?

Yes.

Board of Directors: Yes. The members of the Board of Directors are listed on the website.

Financial Information: Yes. Fair Trade USA has a webpage with its financial information easily accessible to the public, including auditor’s reports. 

Were the standards developed with broad public and industry input?

Yes. The standards were initially developed in the United States using existing fair trade standards in other countries, and was a collaboration between different organizations working in farm justice and sustainable agriculture. Fair Trade USA reached out to stakeholders for their input, including Fair Trade certified producers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), advocacy groups and industry partners. When the standards are revised, the process includes public consultations and public review involving producers, industry partners, non-profit and non-governmental organizations and other experts. The draft standards are posted on the website to solicit public comments.