Organic food producers to clue in public on new laws

LONDONDERRY, NH: Two organic food producers are teaming up to launch an educational campaign revolving around newly enacted federal standards for organic foods. The standards, which went into effect October 21, mark the first national guidelines for what can be called "organic."

LONDONDERRY, NH: Two organic food producers are teaming up to launch an educational campaign revolving around newly enacted federal standards for organic foods. The standards, which went into effect October 21, mark the first national guidelines for what can be called "organic."

Stonyfield Farm, an organic yogurt producer, and Organic Valley Farms, an organic farmers' group that supplies milk to Stonyfield, have already held a joint event to discuss the standards.

They brought together company officials, farmers, and a health expert the Friday before the new rules went into effect. They also distributed b-roll discussing the new standards. The footage garnered 20 million consumer impressions, said Mary Jo Viederman, VP of communications with Stonyfield.

Future efforts will involve reaching mothers of young children and expectant mothers, said Sue McGovern, a Boston-area pro who handles PR for Organic Valley. "I think the whole family market is key," said McGovern. "We're not telling people this is the only way. We want to supply them with information so they can make up their own minds."

While McGovern sees more events to talk about the standards, Viederman added that future efforts will be "much less event focused and much more strategy focused."

Both processors have talked about the value of sustainable agriculture and family farms. But "we don't expect most consumers to care about the environmental impact of life on a family farm," Viederman said.

Rather, ongoing PR will focus on the benefits of feeding kids food made without pesticides, hormones, or other additives.

Stonyfield has used Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician who maintains a widely visited children's health website, as a spokesperson, and will continue to do so in its joint efforts with Organic Valley.

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