For more information, contact: Holly Givens (413) 774-7511, Sue McGovern (781) 648-7157
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Monday, October 21, 2002 "Today's implementation of national organic standards heralds an unprecedented era for the environment and public health, and validates over a decade of work to generate mandatory stringent federal rules for organic production," said Katherine DiMatteo, Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association, the business association of the organic industry in North America.
"Organic farmers are the ones who truly keep 'organic' growing," she said. "There are thousands of certified organic farmers out there who, through their own ingenuity, have found creative ways to build healthy soil without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. These farmers all remind us, first and foremost, that without healthy land, there will be no healthy people."
DiMatteo, a grandmother, noted that children's developing bodies are especially vulnerable, and that choosing organic products is an easy way to protect future generations. "Like using a seat belt or bicycle helmet, choosing organic products is a simple way to reduce exposure to the potential for harm caused by the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers," she said. In raising organic crops and livestock, organic farmers are also prohibited from using genetically engineered organisms, sewage sludge, synthetic growth hormones, or irradiation.
"The challenge of the organic industry will be to continue informing the public about how organic agriculture and products improve our environment, our lives and the lives of future generations," DiMatteo said. To meet this need, the Organic Trade Association has founded the Center for Organic Education and Promotion, a new non-profit organization that will fund research and provide the public with on-going education about the benefits of organic agriculture and products.
"I look forward to the day when increased knowledge about the connections between the health of the land and the health of the people leads to additional support for organic farmers," she concluded.
October 21, 2002
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