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E-M:/ mda director creates organic foods advisory committee

Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>

Contact:  Denise Yockey
Marketing & Communications Div., 517-373-1104
Contact:  Christine Lietzau
Office of Agriculture Development, 517-241-2178
July 21, 1998

State Agriculture Director Creates
Michigan Organic Foods Advisory Committee

Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Dan Wyant today announced
the creation of an 11-member Michigan Organic Foods Advisory Committee, and
invited applications for its membership from individuals dedicated to the
organic foods industry.

"The U.S. organic food market was valued at $2.5 billion in 1997 and is
projected to grow rapidly to $10 billion by 2002," Wyant said.  "Michigan's
food and agriculture industry has the opportunity to be a leader in the
growing organic foods market, and we believe our advisory committee can
help us develop a strategic plan to foster that growth."

The committee's purpose is to develop a statewide strategic plan for
expanded production, processing and marketing of organic foods in a manner
consistent with present international standards, the U.S. Organic Foods
Production Act and the recommendations of the National Organic Standards

The Michigan Organic Foods Advisory Committee will analyze the new organic
standards expected to be released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) later this year to determine compatibility with their plans to grow
the industry in Michigan.  The USDA proposal will establish labeling,
handling, processing and growing requirements for organic producers, food
processors and marketers, as well as enforcement provisions.

The new committee is expected to be comprised of four organic growers, one
organic food processor/handler, one input supplier to organic producers,
two retailers of organic foods, two organic food consumers and one
representative of a sustainable agriculture or  environmental organization
that advocates the use of organic foods.  MDA Director Wyant or his
designee will serve as the ex-officio chair;  Michigan State University
Extension and USDA representatives will serve as advisory, ex-officio
members.  Members will be reimbursed for travel expenses. 


 Applications are now available for individuals interested in appointment
to the committee, which should hold its first meeting by September 1.
Director Wyant has asked for the committee's final report by next May.  For
more information or to apply to the committee, call MDA's Office of
Agriculture Development at 517-241-2178.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture is the official state agency charged
with serving, promoting and protecting the food, agriculture and
agricultural economic interests of the people of the State of Michigan.


(This news release can also be viewed on the World Wide Web at

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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