Industry News | November 6, 2002

Berkeley Voters Reject “Fair Trade” Coffee Measure

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Voters in Berkeley, California sent the supporters of “Fair Trade” coffee a latté grandé-sized wake-up call by rejecting a measure that would have required retailers to sell politically correct coffee.

In a first in the nation attempt, Measure O was placed on the ballot that would have required restaurants, bars, and cafes to sell only coffee blends either organically grown or grown under “Fair Trade” conditions. Organically grown coffees are considered more environmentally friendly. Fair Trade coffee insures growers are paid at least $1.26 per pound.

Violators of the regulation would have faced fines up to $100 and six months in jail.

Coffee companies and retailers such as Starbucks and Peet’s campaigned heavily against the measure. The final tally was almost three-to-one against the Fair Trade coffee.