Certification and Markets: An Newsletter (March 2013)

Mar 2013

Fairtrade Sales in UK Up, 1.3 billion FLO Bananas consumed: The Fairtrade Foundation announced a 19% increase in UK sales of its FLO labelled products in 2012.  The group noted “Cocoa, sugar and bananas have all seen significant growth at respectively 21%, 35% and 15% increase over 2011. Wine, gold and herbs and spices have all grown.  Areas that have remained steady include coffee, tea and cotton.  Critically, this means a significant increase in Fairtrade Premiums, the extra that producers receive for business or social development, in 2012 compared with 2011”.  The UK drank two billion cups of Fairtrade coffee and ate 1.3 billion Fairtrade bananas in the year! 

Whole Foods and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO): The US retail chain Whole Foods  is the world’s leading retailer or organic produce.  Increasingly the issue of GMO content in food is on the agenda of organic buyers in the US as demonstrated by the rapid increase of non-GMO food sales.  The retail giant has announced its policy on GMO transparency.  That is, it will achieve full disclosure and labeling by 2018.  “Whole Foods Market announced today at Natural Products Expo West that, by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores1 must be labeled to indicate if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whole Foods Market is the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency.  GMOs are now part of an ongoing national conversation, thanks to efforts of various advocacy groups such as and to individual states considering their own mandatory labeling laws, like the efforts that are now underway in Washington state. “Whole Foods Market supports that measure and looks forward to supporting other state efforts that may finally lead to one uniform set of national standards,” said Robb. “While we are encouraged by the many mandatory labeling initiatives, we are committed to moving forward with our own GMO transparency plan now.”


The Story of an Environmental Campaign – Lobsters in Germany:  In the last few years, the US animal rights group the Albert Schweitzer Foundation has been in discussions with European food retailers concerning the sale of lobsters < >.  It argues that the process of catching and bringing lobsters to market is inherently cruel.  “The lobster industry has been criticized by animal advocates for a long time now. The catching, transport, lengthy stock periods with no access to food, and cooking of live lobster inflicts a great amount of stress as well as pain and suffering on the animals.”   A year later press reports indicate the majority of German retailers have now phased out lobster sales.  Interestingly the world’s leading fisheries labeling system, MSC lists 241 companies dealing with lobsters searchable as being MSC-certified.  MSC however primarily aims at assessing environmental aspects of fisheries rather than animal cruelty issues, about which the Albert Schweitzer Foundation appealed to the German public in its campaign.

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