Fair-Trade Food Starts to Catch on in the U.S.

Hey, you — sipping the fair-trade, shade-grown, organic coffee. How would you like a fair-trade banana with that? Or a fair-trade chocolate bar? A small but growing number of products in U.S. grocery stores carry a fair-trade label issued by TransFair USA, based in Oakland, Calif., which guarantees that the workers in developing countries who produced the products were paid a fair price for their labor. Many fair-trade-certified products are also organic. Inspectors from TransFair USA make annual visits to fair-trade producers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to ensure that the extra funds paid for their goods are being spent on social, economic, or environmental projects that benefit communities. Fair-trade products have caught on more quickly in Europe than in the U.S. Twenty percent of the bananas sold in Switzerland are fair-trade-certified, and other fair-trade products available to Europeans include fruit juices, mangoes, rice, sugar, and soccer balls.