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Fair Trade Certified Dairy

Fair Trade USA™ recently piloted the application of the Agricultural Production Standard (APS) in the dairy sector in the United States. This page houses updates on the expansion of scope of the APS to apply to dairies.

Publication of the APS 1.2.0 and United States Amendment

For over a year, the Fair Trade USA team has been working closely with a diverse range of stakeholders in the United States and within the dairy industry to expand the scope of our Agricultural Production Standard (APS) to apply in a dairy context. In 2020, we completed the first pilot certifications of dairies in the United States, and we released the APS—with dairy clarifications—for public consultation.

During this pilot and consultation period, Fair Trade USA held interviews with approximately 40 experts and stakeholders holding various roles throughout the dairy industry and supply chain, collected comments directly from dairy producers and workers through workshops and phone calls, and gathered a number of learnings from the dairies, cooperatives, brands, auditors, and workers involved in the initial pilot certifications in dairy.

Fair Trade USA also solicited feedback from other companies and organizations operating in the United States, including producer groups, growers, labor experts, NGOs, buyers, and brands, as well as Fair Trade USA staff and field staff who support the implementation of the APS.

Together these stakeholders submitted over 800 individual comments which—in combination with the learnings from our initial pilot certifications in dairy—helped us refine the APS to develop version 1.2.0, as well as identify a need for both geographically and industry-specific APS interpretations and clarifications. Therefore, as a supplement to the updated APS 1.2.0 we are also publishing a United States Amendment to provide additional guidance on how APS requirements apply to organizations and producers operating in the United States’ complex legal landscape, as well as further clarifications for those in the dairy industry.

Fair Trade USA would like to thank all of the thought partners who provided feedback and guidance throughout the pilot and revision process. Your comments help us ensure that our standards continue to drive positive impact and meet the needs of producers, workers, consumers, and businesses.

To download the APS 1.2.0, United States Amendment, and associated policies and guidance documents, please visit Fair Trade USA’s standards page. Background documents, including the Dairy Project Plan, FAQ, and summaries of feedback received with Fair Trade USA’s responses, are available below.


In early 2019, Fair Trade USA began an exploration of the United States dairy sector with the goal of determining how a fair trade certification program could be most relevant, impactful, and valuable to dairy supply chains and the individuals that work in the sector across the United States. Coming out of that exploration, Fair Trade USA saw a clear opportunity to complement existing initiatives within and surrounding the dairy industry and bring positive impact to the sector by applying our unique standards combined with Community Development Funds and producer services.

As a result, Fair Trade USA decided to move forward with the creation of the first-ever fair trade certification in the United States dairy sector. We will deliver this by expanding the scope of the Agricultural Production Standard (APS) to apply in a dairy context. Our APS, which we apply today in a wide range of commodities, countries, and production systems, serves as a strong foundation to drive positive impact for dairy workers and farmers, and reward best practices in the dairy sector.


Summary of Feedback and Response for the APS Draft Dairy Amendment

Contains a summary of the key themes from the feedback we received on the Draft Dairy Amendment as well as Fair Trade USA’s responses to suggestions made.

Dairy Project Plan

Includes information about the process, project activities, and timeline to amend the APS to apply to the dairy sector as well as the rationale for bringing fair trade to dairies.

APS Draft Dairy Amendment

APS version 1.1.0 with dairy-specific definitions, modifications, and clarification to make it interpretable and auditable in the dairy sector (indicated with red font and within the “Dairy Amendment & Guidance” column). This Draft Dairy Amendment is now closed for public comment.


Initial announcement about Fair Trade USA exploration in the dairy sector.