Do You Know Nutrition: Fair Trade Certified important food designation

By Phylis Canion
April 30, 2013 at midnight
Updated April 29, 2013 at 11:30 p.m.

What does Fair Trade certified mean now that is listed on more and more product labels?

Fair Trade certified, which began in the mid 1980s, was developed to help consumers support products that are produced on farms that have been certified to provide fair wages, safe working conditions (in which forced child labor is prohibited), equal opportunity for advancement and that provide healthy working and living conditions for all employees.

Fair trade also means environmentally sustainable production and harvest practices with respect for cultural heritage.

Fair trade goes one step further and overlaps with standard for organic certification by prohibiting the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides that put the farmer's health at risk by prohibiting conventional farming practices that also harm the environment.

Fair Trade USA is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Current fair trade certified labels can be found on coffee, tea, herbs, cocoa, chocolate, fresh fruit, rice, sugar, flowers, honey and vanilla.

I have noticed that my nonstick skillet coating is peeling and flaking off so I am going to get rid of it. I have done a little bit of research on different coatings, and now I wonder if I even want to replace it with another one or use something different. What is the coating made of and can it be dangerous? Can you please shed some light on this subject for me?

While the nonstick pans seem to be a wonderful kitchen tool, research indicates that it may not be so good after all.

In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency, asked eight American companies to work toward the elimination of perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical used to bond nonstick coatings to the pan, by 2015.

The EPA labeled PFOAs as a likely carcinogen since PFOAs have been shown to cause cancer, low birth weights and suppressed immune systems in laboratory animals exposed to high levels of PFOAS.

Once food is cooked above certain temperatures hotter than the smoke point of oils, nonstick coatings will break down and release toxins.

I would recommend tossing the cookware if it is peeling or chipping and grab you a cast-iron skillet. The odds are those black specs in your scrambled eggs are not pepper.

Thought for the week: Eating healthy is not a battle - fighting cancer is.

Every second Monday of the month is a free nutrition class at Organic Emporium at 7 p.m. The next cooking class with Chef Molly Fowler will be at 5:30 p.m. May 8 at the Cooking Depot in Cuero. To make your reservation, call 361-275-2725.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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