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    Grocers Making Demands on Food Ingredients

    More food retailers are becoming more demanding about what ingredients they'll allow in the products they carry, as they focus on meeting consumers' health concerns.

    In one of the most recent examples of this, natural and organic food retailer PCC Natural Markets (PCC), based in Seattle, has mandated that vendors and manufacturers of products sold at its eight western Washington locations must provide full disclosure of their products' ingredients.

    PCC is also requiring suppliers to sign statements assuring that their products don't contain ingredients from cloned animals or cloned animals' offspring.

    "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," says PCC c.e.o. Tracy Wolpert. "We [will work] with our trusted suppliers to ensure traceability in the highest-quality foods."

    In a similar move, Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Market has expanded its safeguards on seafood by requiring tuna suppliers to test for mercury levels in their product.

    Wegmans has been running in-house tests for mercury on swordfish and tuna "for years," as well as requiring its swordfish suppliers to do so, according to a report in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

    The retailer made its latest move after the New York Times ran an article about the high mercury levels in tuna sushi samples taken from 20 Manhattan restaurants and food retailers.

    Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets, another local retailer in upstate New York, also requires its tuna and swordfish suppliers to test mercury levels.

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