RETAILERS URGED TO PROMOTE ORGANICS

WASHINGTON -- Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Organic Trade Association, both here, encourage retailers to become active participants in the campaign to promote packaged organic products."This is the beginning of a new era for the environment and public health," said Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the OTA, speaking during a press conference marking the recent

WASHINGTON -- Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Organic Trade Association, both here, encourage retailers to become active participants in the campaign to promote packaged organic products.

"This is the beginning of a new era for the environment and public health," said Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the OTA, speaking during a press conference marking the recent implementation of national organic standards.

Judging from the number of inquiries regarding the proper placement of signage and related materials, members of the retail community have already begun to show interest, said Barbara Robinson, deputy administrator, transportation and marketing for the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, speaking at the same press conference. According to Robinson, industry observers anticipate seeing a lot of retail activity.

The USDA has produced an introductory brochure for interested parties, she said, which can be obtained through the USDA's Web site at www.usda.gov.

"Many retailers already do a terrific job of identifying organic products using banners, signage and shelf-talkers," DiMatteo noted.

She continued to recommend retailers take full advantage of the new opportunity afforded by the federal seal, particularly in the realm of consumer education.