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SEATTLE -- In an effort to raise the bar in standards for food safety, natural and organic foods retailer PCC Natural Markets (PCC) yesterday said it has mandated that vendors and manufacturers of products sold at its eight western Washington locations must provide full disclosure of their product ingredients.
PCC is also requiring suppliers to sign statements assuring that their products do not contain ingredients from cloned animals or their 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," said PCC's c.e.o. Tracy Wolpert. "We [will work] with our trusted suppliers to ensure traceability in the highest quality foods."
According to PCC, 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 said it disagreed with this ruling, and that the FDA failed to address several controversial points about animal cloning. Because of this, the chain said it will require manufacturers to submit a signed agreement that products they sell to PCC will not contain ingredients from cloned animals or their offspring.
PCC Natural Markets is a certified organic retail cooperative with annual sales of $115 million and an active membership of nearly 40,000 households. It operates eight stores in the Seward Park, View Ridge, Greenlake, West Seattle, Fremont, Kirkland, Redmond, and Issaquah neighborhoods, and plans to open its ninth store in Edmonds this summer.