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The number and types of fair trade food is growing all the time. Currently, fair trade fruit, beverages, and sugar are readily available. Other fair trade food offerings include rice, oil, and chocolate. Cooking ingredients such as vanilla extract and vanilla beans, various herbs, and ginger are used by a number of companies who label their products as fair trade items.
The term fair trade carries similar definitions in countries around the world. Most countries that require items to be certified before they can be sold as fair trade food require that producers meet certain requirements. Employees must work under safe conditions and earn an equitable wage. Also, fair trade food must have been grown or produced using methods that do not harm the environment.
A number of tropical fruits are sold as fair trade produce. Currently, more than a quarter of all bananas sold in Europe and the United States are fair trade food. In addition to bananas, other commonly sold fair trade fruits include pineapples, grapes, and mangoes.
Many consumers are aware of the growing popularity of fair trade coffee, tea, and wine. Fair trade coffee was first introduced to American consumers over a decade ago. Green, white, and black tea soon followed. Wine made from certified fair trade grapes and produced using approved fair trade methods has been available in the U.S. since 2007, four years after it became available in the European marketplace.
Fair trade sweeteners, such as molasses and sugar, are becoming increasingly available on grocery shelves as consumers gain awareness of farming conditions. Vanilla extract and vanilla beans, though not as commonly available, can be found in groceries catering to green-conscious clientele. Herbs used for teas or cooking, such as peppermint, wintergreen, and lemongrass, can be purchased from fair trade importers.
Palestinian olive oil is another fair trade food that is gaining in popularity as well. Groceries that cater to consumers who identify themselves as having a social conscience are more likely to stock fair trade olive oil that are chain supermarkets. However, in some areas, this is beginning to change.
More and more consumers are insisting upon fair trade chocolate, rice, and spices. This is due in part to widespread media coverage on the high degree of child labor such unfair trade products employ. In some cases, these products are sold with the stipulation that a portion of the proceeds will be used to provide health care and schooling.
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