Need any more evidence that Fair Trade coffee isn’t unquestionably the “right thing to do” when it comes to poverty and the world’s coffee growers? Today’s The Australian reported on two Melbourne academics who have lodged formal complaints against Oxfam Australia, which oversees Australian Fair Trade certification, challenging that Fair Trade doesn’t achieve what it claims: Oxfam coffee ‘harms’ poor farmers | News | The Australian. To quote the researchers:

“Our primary complaint is that this is an unsustainable system. The only sustainable mechanism is through free trade. They are artificially cooking up the international coffee trade, to promote the interests of the Fairtrade brand and the people who sign up to it.”

Ouch. Put that in your biodeisel car and fry it.

And to think that in 2002 Berkeley academics tried to get Measure O passed, which would have criminalized any restaurant or café that served coffee that wasn’t Fair Trade certified — with violators facing fines up to $100 and six months in jail.