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MSC, Fairtrade America, and the Non-GMO Project have partnered to celebrate the Little Labels that make a Big Impact and to encourage shoppers to make the switch to third-party certified products.

Many shoppers want to know how the food they buy affects people and the planet, including how it was grown, harvested and produced. That’s where third-party certifications play a big role. MSC, Fairtrade America and Non-GMO Project have come together to celebrate little labels that make a big impact on sustainable food systems. 


When you see little labels by independent third-party certifiers on your food, you know that product underwent a rigorous evaluation to ensure it met a set of strict standards.  

MSC, Fairtrade America, and the Non-GMO Project have partnered to celebrate the Little Labels that make a Big Impact and to encourage shoppers to make the switch to third-party certified products. By looking for the Non-GMO Project Verified, Fairtrade Certified, and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) labels, you can shop sustainably throughout your local stores year round.  

Left: Image of banana farmer with Fairtrade label. Center: Image of young female fisher holding a salmon with MSC label. Right: Field of yellow wildflowers with Non GMO label.

Why Are These Labels Important?

Little Labels, Big Impact is a way to recognize companies and ecolabels that have been independently verified and work hard to bring sustainable options to dinner tables across the country.

Labels like Fairtrade Certified, MSC Certified, and Non-GMO Project Verified represent rigorous standards with requirements that need to be followed in order to use the label.

This may require laboratory testing and supply chain accountability that allows for “identity preservation.” That typically requires the strict separation of ingredients or products that are compliant with the standards from ingredients that are not.

Fairtrade America, the MSC, and Non-GMO Project are all nonprofit organizations driven by their collective mission to change how food is harvested or made in order to better serve people and the planet. Fairtrade has been operating internationally since 1989, MSC’s sustainable fishing standard has been in effect since 1998, and Non-GMO Project has been verifying products since 2010.

The nonprofits publish their Standards on their websites to give shoppers transparency, first and foremost. It also helps to check which brands are using these labels: Brands both large and small voluntarily showcase this compliance by including the Fairtrade, MSC, or Non-GMO Project labels on their packaging.

MSC Certified

The MSC blue fish label is an ecolabel found on seafood products including fresh, canned, and frozen seafood, omega-3 supplements, pet food, and even some restaurant menus. The blue fish helps consumers identify seafood that is certified sustainable, wild-caught, and traceable to a sustainable source. The MSC blue fish label can only be applied to wild-caught seafood from a fishery that has been independently assessed on its impacts on wild fish populations and the ecosystems they’re part of.

Non-GMO Project Verified

GMOs (or genetically modified organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and/or virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Non-GMO Project verification means that a product is compliant with the Non-GMO Project Standard, the most rigorous third-party standard for GMO avoidance, which includes stringent provisions for ingredient testing and traceability and the most up-to-date definitions around new GMO techniques.

Fairtrade Certified

Every day, we enjoy products planted, grown, harvested and transported by farmers and workers around the world. . These farmers and workers often do not earn enough to have a decent living — that is, to eat nutritious food, send their kids to school, have adequate shelter and weather a crisis (like COVID-19). Many live on less than $2 per day. The Fairtrade Mark works towards rebalancing trade. By choosing Fairtrade, you are choosing to prioritize the farmers and workers behind our everyday purchases. You are choosing products that are certified to meet the rigorous standards developed in partnership with producers.

Look for the Labels Every Time You Shop

Shop these labels when you next head to the store year round. By looking for products that are Fairtrade Certified, MSC Certified, and Non-GMO Project Verified, you are supporting brands that are working towards a more sustainable future.! Look for these labels on a variety of fresh and packaged products across the store like seafood, bananas, coffee, chocolate, and more. 

Learn More About The Organizations

Learn how your choices at the grocery store can make a big difference for the health of our ocean at Get to know the people behind the label that make sustainable seafood possible at @MSCbluefish 

Follow the Butterfly with the Non-GMO Project. Sign up for their newsletters and like them on social media—@NonGMOProject

Get the scoop on Fairtrade. Sign up to receive Fairtrade America’s newsletter and follow them on social media—@FairtradeMarkUS 

Are You an MSC Partner and Want to Promote Your Certified Products?

We encourage all MSC partners with a marketing agreement to participate in the Little Labels Big Impact partnership! Share messaging and graphics on social media, post a blog, or use printable assets in-stores.

To download the assets and see more ways you can get involved, take a look at this.

Man holding a reusable shopping bag with the MSC, Fairtrade, and Non-GMO labels