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Nonprofits Sue Pret A Manger for Deceptive Marketing of Foods as 'Natural'

Washington D.C.,– Beyond Pesticides, GMO Free USA and Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit against Pret A Manger restaurant chain for the deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods as “natural food,” after the products tested positive for glyphosate, a component of Roundup weedkiller. The lawsuit charges that Pret exploits consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as ‘natural.’

“Consumers expect Pret’s food to be free of synthetic pesticides, including glyphosate. Glyphosate, patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, is linked to adverse health effects including cancer, infertility and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. Glyphosate shouldn’t be present in the food system at all, but a company that willfully misrepresents its products needs to be held accountable,” said Diana Reeves, executive director of GMO Free USA.

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides said: “Consumers want truthful information on product ingredients, with labeling and advertising that is transparent about production practices and residues of toxic materials. Given the widespread use of pesticide-intensive practices, this lawsuit establishes the responsibility of purveyors of food products to know the origins of their product ingredients before making a ‘natural’ claim.”

New Report Defines Differences in Fair Trade Certification Labels, Offers Tips to Avoid 'Fairwashing'

Not all fair-trade certification labels are created equal, according to a new report by the Fair World Project (FWP). The report breaks down the various definitions of the most common fair-trade certifications, and the role verification programs play in the global fair trade movement.

“Fairness for Farmers: A Report Assessing the Fair Trade Movement and the Role of Certification,” identifies the fundamental differences between six fair trade product labels. It also emphasizes the importance of purchasing fair-trade certified products to ensure farmer fairness and to combat power imbalances often seen within global supply chains. The report states:

Small-scale farmers face many threats including land grabbing, unfair trade agreements, lack of government and technical support, low and volatile prices, uneven wealth distribution, corporate control of the food system, and climate change.

Global trade favors those already in power—businesses, governments, and the largest players at any stage of the supply chain whether large-scale farms, factory owners, or mega-corporations. In conventional supply chains, producers—the bottom of the chain—generally lack negotiating power and small-scale producers are further marginalized within the production sector since they are competing against bigger and better-resourced producers.

Fair trade, a concept that first began in the U.S. and dates back to the mid-1900s, aims to shift the balance of power in supply chains by empowering small-scale farmers and producers and connecting them to markets that support consumer demand for ethically produced products.... [Read full article/s via title links]

"I would challenge consumers to tackle a few of these things":

- Buying fair trade wherever you can, of course, and encouraging your friends to do the same.

- Write a comment card if you’re at the grocery store and encourage them to drop unfair products and choose only fair trade.

- Look around at your school, workplace, church, etc., and see where you can get them to buy more fair trade.

- Support campaigns like the Campaign for Real Meals, which challenges some of the biggest food service companies to support fair trade and shift the balance of power in the food system.

Our fact sheet that goes with the report helps sum up why fair trade is so important, in a quick, digestible format that’s easy to share with all those new people that you might be telling about fair trade! Find it here.

Julie Wilson is communications associate for the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). To keep up with OCA news and alerts, sign up for our newsletter.

GMO Free USA is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocating for a clean and healthy food system and educating consumers about the hazards of genetically engineered organisms and synthetic pesticides.

Beyond Pesticides is a D.C-based national grassroots nonprofit that works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides.


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