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Organic and fair trade — but only in the air

(article, Caroline Cummins)

Who would be a regulating body? It's a tough job, trying to please everyone. Britain's Soil Association, the body responsible for certifying most of the country's organic produce, recently announced that food flown to Britain from developing countries will only be allowed to bear an organic label if it can also sport a fair-trade label.

This is, of course, a nice idea, especially since, as the Guardian has reported, "the world's poorest countries account for 79 percent of the organic foods exported by plane to the U.K." But how easy would it be for those countries to guarantee fair-trade practices on top of organic certification?

The Soil Association is  caught between  First World consumers (who are naturally demanding food that's healthily produced, economically fair, and cleanly transported) and Third World countries (which would love to comply, but are oppressed by climate change, corruption, and poverty).

As John Vidal pointed out in the Guardian, "In theory, the change could be put in place in a year, but my guess is that the producers will be able to spin out the delay and it will be at least three years before any exporter of any organic produce to Britain will be forced to do anything about climate change or the social conditions and wages that their poor workforce must live with."