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    PCC Natural Markets Cuts All HFCS

    SEATTLE -- Certified organic retail cooperative PCC Natural Markets here said it has removed from its shelves all products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

    SEATTLE -- Certified organic retail cooperative PCC Natural Markets here said it has removed from its shelves all products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

    The retailer's decision to eliminate the ingredient came in the wake of studies linking HFCS to obesity, particularly in children, and to a wide range of medical conditions.

    "PCC began the process of eliminating products with HFCS several months ago," said PCC director of merchandising Paul Schmidt in a statement. "We gave our vendors the opportunity to reformulate and repackage products containing HFCS, with the understanding that compliance with our HFCS-free standard was expected within a reasonable length of time. Their response was very positive, and we have replaced items across our product line with HFCS-free offerings that we and our shoppers can feel good about."

    HFCS is used as sweetener in such products as soft drinks, condiments and baked goods because it's cheaper than many other sweeteners such as cane sugar; comes in liquid form, making it easier to blend; and can contribute to a longer product shelf and freezer life.

    An additional concern for PCC's health- and environmentally minded patrons is that "most, if not all, HFCS is likely to be derived from genetically-modified corn," said the retailer.

    PCC sells a broad selection of snacks and other items containing natural sweeteners such as evaporated cane juice, molasses, honey, maple syrup, and stevia.

    Earlier this year the cooperative said it would eliminate all fresh dairy products containing rBGH, the artificial growth hormone used to boost the milk production of dairy cows, and all items with artificial trans fats.

    With an active membership of nearly 40,000 households, PCC operates eight stores in Seward Park, View Ridge, Greenlake, West Seattle, Fremont, Kirkland, Redmond, and Issaquah, Wash.

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