Our product standards
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Your local, certified organic natural market
PCC is proud to be a certified organic retailer, which means that we:
- Maintain records of organic purchases, providing traceability.
- Verify that the organic products we purchase are certified.
- Handle the organic products in a way that maintains their organic integrity.
- Use appropriate cleaning, sanitizing and pesticide products and procedures.
Our certifying agent, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), inspects our records and facilities annually, interviews staff, and conducts an audit.
PCC's goal is to be GMO-free
There isn't a grocery store in the country that can claim to be GMO-free today, but PCC is moving in that direction. Toward that end, we are committed to the Non-GMO Project because it's the first independent, third-party, certifier in the U.S. to establish Best Practices and testing throughout the supply chain to ensure non-GMO claims.
We are instituting an additional level of scrutiny to our already stringent product standards. Buyers will give priority to new items that contain ingredients most likely to have been genetically modified – such as corn, soy, sugar beets, canola and cotton – that are enrolled and verified with the Non-GMO Project.
We are asking all manufacturers making a non-GMO claim to verify that claim with the Non-GMO Project and to label products accordingly.
We advocate for the consumer’s right to an informed choice, including the mandatory labeling of GMO products. We continue to educate consumers and communicate with manufacturers about the economic, social and environmental impacts of GMOs. Find non-GMO products »
PCC's fair labor standard for chocolate
PCC is believed to be the first U.S. grocer to sell only chocolate made from ethically sourced cocoa.
PCC sells chocolate only from vendors that provide assurance that child slave labor is prohibited and follow International Labor Organization (ILO) Fundamental Conventions. These include strict prohibitions against child slave labor, as well as provisions about age, working conditions and fair wages for all workers.
PCC requires its chocolate vendors to fill out questionnaires and sign affidavits ensuring their chocolate adheres to this standard. All brands must be either be certified by an independent third party, or sign PCC’s Supplier Agreement ensuring they meet the standard.
Fresh, organic, local
PCC maintains close relationships with local and regional farmers to provide the best-tasting, freshest produce possible. More than 93 percent of produce sold by PCC is certified organic fruits and vegetables, grown without artificial pesticides or fertilizers. When organic varieties are not available or out of season, we offer high-quality non-organic produce. See when local, organic produce is in season.
Pastured, free-range, humanely raised
PCC offers only natural or organic meats sourced directly from ranchers who are committed to humane standards. Read our vendor agreement, which bars cloned animals or their offspring from PCC
All PCC meat is from pastured or free-range animals. All meats must meet the following criteria to be sold by PCC:
- All animals are raised on vegetarian diets.
- No use of antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones.
- No feed containing animal by-products.
- No artificial food colorings or preservatives.
- No meat or dairy from cloned animals or their offspring.
Delicious seafood, healthy oceans
PCC is a full retail partner in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program, which rates seafood choices according to environmental criteria, including the method used to catch the fish, and whether the species is abundant or endangered or threatened by overfishing.
Most of the seafood sold by PCC is rated "Green, a Best Choice" according to the Seafood Watch program. A limited amount of PCC's seafood is rated "Yellow, a Good Alternative." PCC does not carry seafood rated as "Red, Avoid."
Grocery aisles, Dairy, and bulk
All natural, delicious choices
PCC grocery buyers give preference to organic, local grocery items packaged in an environmentally responsible way, and to products with labels that state they are not genetically modified and not irradiated. PCC grocery products contain no hydrogenated oils or added trans-fat.
Eggs — PCC sells only eggs from hens that are raised cage-free on local, family-owned farms. The use of antibiotics is prohibited and the hens are fed only 100 percent vegetarian feed. Certified-organic eggs come from hens raised on certified-organic feed.
Dairy — As a natural-foods retailer, all of PCC's fresh milk is produced without the use of the genetically engineered growth hormone, rBGH, used to increase milk production. All yogurt, kefir, butter, cheese and other dairy products sold at PCC are free of rBGH as well.
PCC's product standards also do not allow artificial preservatives, colorings, or flavorings.
Freshest taste, finest ingredients
Only organic grains, flours, olive oil, milk, beans, potatoes and greens are used in PCC deli and bakery recipes. Many, if not most of the vegetables in various deli-made dishes also are organic. Artificial flavorings, preservatives and colors are strictly prohibited. To ensure quality, deli items and baked goods are freshly made using seasonal ingredients.
Meat and seafood used in PCC deli recipes adhere to the same guidelines as the items sold in our meat and seafood departments.
Fairly Traded, shade-grown, organic and locally roasted options
PCC espresso bars are certified organic and offer organic milk and cream, and milk alternatives. All the brewed and expressed coffee sold at PCC — as well as the bagged or bulk coffee — is certified organic, shade-grown, fairly traded, and locally roasted.
Handpicked, superb flavor
PCC supports wineries and breweries owned and operated by small, independent producers who put integrity and quality before the bottom line.
Maintaining close relationships with local vintners and breweries, as well as producers worldwide, allows PCC to offer a wide range of choices for any budget or occasion. Every effort is made to acquire wines made from estate-grown fruit or fruit from conscientious growers.
All wines sold by PCC contain no synthetic additives, colors or preservatives, with the exception of sulphur, which is used by most wineries to prevent bacterial growth in wine.
Naturally safe and soothing
PCC believes that what we put on our bodies is as important as what we eat. So we've asked the vendors of all our skin, facial and body-care products to comply with the the standards of the Natural Products Association, a set of guidelines that determine whether a product truly can be called "natural."
Many brands at PCC already comply with these stringent standards and PCC is working with others that are striving to become compliant by reformulating. We have discontinued brands and products that are choosing not to comply.
The Natural Products Association standards include:
- A definition for "natural" — Ingredients that come or are made from a renewable resource found in natural (flora, fauna, mineral), with absolutely no petroleum compounds.
- All products labeled or branded "natural" are made with at least 95 percent all-natural ingredients.
- A list of prohibited ingredients, which includes parabens (synthetic preservatives that are potential endocrine disruptors), petrolatum/mineral oil/paraffin (non-renewable byproducts of crude oil with potentially dangerous impurities), and sodium lauryl sulfate (a harsh cleansing agent that's potentially damaging and irritating to the skin).
Nutritional supplements — PCC offers a wide variety of nutritional supplements, including vitamins sold exclusively under the PCC brand label. Each product is evaluated individually and must comply with specific requirements.
- No artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.
- Reliable research that supports claims concerning the product's purity and effectiveness.
- Adequately labeled, listing ingredients and recommended use as required by law.