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FTUSA Changes Policy for Labeling Multi-ingredient Products

Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) announced a new U.S. policy for “Multiple Ingredients Products” or “ingredients policy.” Their policy for using the “Fair Trade Certified” label on multi-ingredient products had been challenged in recent years. The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommended in June 2011 that FTUSA change its misleading labeling policy for body care products. See NAD story.FTUSA stated in a press release that:

“the policy will maximize impact for producers by: encouraging more companies to convert more ingredients to Fair Trade Certified supply sources; and promoting transparency to ensure that consumers know what they are buying.

The new ingredients policy applies to all food and personal care products. It requires a minimum of 25 percent Fair Trade Certified content for a product to use the “Fair Trade Certified” label on the front of the package; requires between 10 and 24 percent Fair Trade Certified content for a product to use the “Fair Trade Certified Ingredients” label on the front of the package; and for products with less than 10 percent, allows a back-panel ingredients note—such as “Fair Trade Certified Sugar.” The percentage of ingredients is measured by dry weight.

Transparency efforts also extend to the brand or manufacturers’ websites. Industry partners will clearly list the Fair Trade Certified content for all products and the specific ingredients that are Fair Trade Certified. Partners also will direct consumers to http://www.fairtradeusa.org/certification/producers/ingredients to learn more about what constitutes a Fair Trade Certified product.”

Further details at FTUSA press release.


  1. Shame on Fair Trade USA. From an advertising and consumer standpoint, the new policy is still misleading and greenwashing. The consumer looking at the package has no way of knowing by the label’s placement what the percentage of fair trade ingredients are. Most are also unaware that FTUSA will certify a product with as little as 2% fair trade content, as long as they’ve paid the fee.

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