GREENFIELD, Mass. (Jan. 19, 2001)—Retailers can now sign up for a special training program outlining good practices for handling organic products.
"U.S. retail sales of organic products continue to increase by at least 20 percent a year. Now, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final rule in place for implementing national organic standards, it is even more important for retailers to make sure they have the correct procedures to ensure the integrity of organic products," said Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association.
Developed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the Good Organic Retailing Practices (GORP) training program is a four-hour course covering organic control points, processing and co-packing issues, co-mingling and contamination issues, pest management and sanitation, and record-keeping and documentation. OTA will hold the course twice in March, twice in May, and twice in October. In addition, retailers unable to attend the training sessions may order the course manual and CD (that includes a copy of GORP) from the trade association.
The program is designed to train retailers to follow procedures consistent with the new USDA Organic Rule, GORP, and OTA’s American Organic Standards.
OTA consulted with large and small organic retailing operations throughout the country and the Independent Organic Inspectors Association in developing the course. In addition to general handling practices, the program will specifically address such retail sections as fresh produce, bulk foods, meats and prepared foods, as well as deli, bakery and juice bar operations.
Training sessions are now slated for March 10 and 11 in Anaheim, CA; May 19 and 20 in conjunction with OTA’s "All Things Organic" Conference and Trade Show in Austin, TX; and Oct. 13 and 14 in the Washington, DC, area.
For more information concerning the training including how to register, contact David Gagnon at the Organic Trade Association via e-mail ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
January 19, 2001
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