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ORGANIC FOOD PRODUCERS ENDORSE GOVERNMENT PLEDGE

 WASHINGTON, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The organic foods industry enthusiastically endorsed the government's pledge to reduce chemicals in the food supply. "This is a powerful signal that the time has come for American agriculture to change its reliance on toxic synthetic pesticides. And organic products are one of the natural solutions to this problem," said Bill Wolf, president of the Organic Foods Production Association of North America (OFPANA).
 Wolf was responding to the surprise joint announcement last weekend by Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, Food and Drug Commissioner David A. Kessler and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner, that the Clinton administration is "committed to reducing the risks to people and the environment that are associated with pesticides." The government action came just ahead of the release of the National Academy of Sciences study and just after the Environmental Working Group released its own report, both indicating the need for stronger government regulation to protect infants and children from possible adverse health affects from pesticides.
 "This is an exciting opportunity for producers and consumers, as well. We are on the cutting edge of agricultural technology," said Wolf. "For more than 20 years, organic growers have been utilizing an integrated approach to growing food," he explained. "We hope the administration's commitment can be construed as a promise of quick action from all three agencies to help even more producers who want to switch from synthetics," he stated.
 Wolf also pointed out that in the past five years, organic food production has intensified to the point that the supply now can meet increased demand. "Organic food products are available," he exclaimed. "Shoppers can find them everywhere in the store in a variety of forms -- fresh to frozen, canned and bottled. All they need to do is ask for them. No one speaks more effectively to retailers than consumers -- and their food dollars," he concluded.
 He went on to assure consumers that foods labeled "certified organic" can be trusted. "The standards are outlined in the 1990 Farm Bill and match the guidelines that our members have been following since 1985," he explained.
 "It's also rewarding that in none of the studies were there any recommendations to reduce the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables that children eat," said Wolf. "In fact, we agree with the case for increased consumption. Luckily, Americans have alternatives. They can buy organic foods."
 -0- 6/28/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Wolf, 703-864-5103, or Katherine DiMatteo, 413-774-7511, both for the Organic Foods Production Association of North America/


CO: Organic Foods Production Association of North America ST: District of Columbia IN: FOD ENV SU: LEG

IH-KD -- DC041 -- 6469 06/28/93 18:04 EDT
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Date:Jun 28, 1993
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