Ask the Dietitians

Fair Trade

What does "fair trade" mean, especially when it comes to food?

Fair Trade grew out of the concern for social justice between wealthy countries receiving goods, and poor, developing nations providing the goods. Fair Trade is now a certified term that ensures that producers are paid a fair price for goods, allowing for the costs of production and keeping production socially just and environmentally sound, and also that workers receive a fair living wage. When shopping, look for the Fair Trade Certified logo. You can find it on many brands of coffee beans and cocoa powder. Plus, products like tea, wine, fruit and nuts also have many Fair Trade options. Fair Trade companies are typically environmentally aware too, so they probably carry organic products to boot. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, is an international columnist and a speaker on the subjects of nutrition, sports and fitness.