PCC Natural Markets asks natural foods industry for full ingredient disclosure on products
Manufacturers also required to prohibit food products from cloned animals
Seattle, Wash., February 12, 2008 — In letters sent yesterday to PCC brokers, vendors and manufacturers, PCC raised the bar in standards for food safety and the right of consumers to know the ingredients and sources of the food they buy.
PCC Natural Markets (PCC) has notified vendors and manufacturers of products sold at its eight western Washington locations that full disclosure of product ingredients is a standard they are expected to incorporate into their operations. PCC suppliers also are being required to provide signed statements that products sold to PCC do not contain ingredients from cloned animals or their offspring.
PCC’s chief executive officer, Tracy Wolpert, says “The failure of our regulatory agencies to mandate full disclosure of food ingredients makes it incumbent on leaders in the natural foods industry to step forward and provide what our consumers want. We look forward to working with our trusted suppliers to ensure traceability in the highest quality foods.”
Disclosure of some food ingredients, such as specific oils or spices, and the source of colors or flavors are not required by law to be identified fully on food products. Also, food manufacturers can reformulate their products at any time without notice to purveyors of their products or the consumers who buy them.
“We understand the challenge for many of our suppliers in identifying and documenting their product ingredients and sources,” says Stephanie Steiner, PCC’s grocery merchandiser. “The fact remains that doing so is possible. Our shoppers trust PCC to provide the highest quality and safest food available, and that trust warrants our requiring suppliers to have the same commitment to full disclosure of food ingredients and sourcing that we do.”
In January 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that products from cloned animals and their offspring are safe for human consumption. PCC disagrees with this ruling because the FDA failed to address several controversial points about animal cloning. PCC is requiring all manufacturers to submit a signed agreement that products sold to PCC do not — and will not — contain ingredients from cloned animals or their offspring.
A provision of the 2002 Farm Bill requiring mandatory country-of-origin labels on beef, pork, lamb, peanuts, and fresh and frozen produce has yet to be implemented. PCC voluntarily labels all these products with their country-of-origin.
About PCC Natural Markets: Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., PCC Natural Markets is a certified organic retail cooperative with annual sales of $115 million and an active membership of nearly 40,000 households. PCC operates eight stores in the Seward Park, View Ridge, Greenlake, West Seattle, Fremont, Kirkland, Redmond and Issaquah neighborhoods. A ninth store will open in Edmonds this summer. www.pccnaturalmarkets.com