Letters to the editor, March 2005

This article was originally published in March 2005

Shopping bags continued

Thank you for your article, “Paper, plastic or cloth?” Having been “well trained” over the course of my 25+ years as a member of PCC to bring my own bags and containers, I’ve been wondering if PCC cares whether people bring their own bags or not. Invariably, when I check out, I’m asked whether I want “paper or plastic.” I always say that I’ve brought my own bags, but I’m dismayed at the number of shoppers who don’t.

I’ve always thought of recycling as being a core value at PCC. Maybe if shoppers were charged five cents for a paper or plastic bag, they would be encouraged to bring their own. Instead of asking “paper or plastic,” I’d like to hear shoppers be asked, “Did you bring your own bag today?” and then be thanked for doing so. It takes very little effort to bring our own bags, and with a gentle bit of coaxing, we can be trained. A little effort on all our parts can have a big impact on our environment. Thank you for raising this issue in the Sound Consumer. We needed the reminder.
— Kimberly Sims

Thank you for your article about using bags at PCC. I have been well intentioned about using my canvas bags but so often just find myself in the store without having remembered them. Then the thought came, how about using string bags like they do in Europe? They take up less room, so they can fit easily into a pocket or purse. As soon as they’re emptied at home, they can be put into a coat pocket or purse for next use. Perhaps PCC could make a little nylon stuff bag with the PCC logo on it that holds two or three string bags. This could fit easily into pockets or purses as well.
— Mary Belshaw

Beware Splenda

I am working with a group to increase awareness of the true chemical nature of the Splenda product. Since your article in September 2002 about Splenda, several additional products have started adding sucralose to their ingredients, citing the “natural” nature of the product. Many of these products are aimed at children.

Unsuspecting parents and other consumers need to be aware of the true nature of sucralose. Contrary to their marketing claims, Splenda is not “natural” (which you noted in your article, too). An informational Web site, www.truthaboutsplenda.com has been developed. Would it be possible to post this in your next issue?
— Joanne Todd

Editor: FYI, PCC does not sell any products containing Splenda or other artificial sweeteners.

Hand wipes for shopping?

I heard a presentation last year on protecting yourself from colds, flu and other infectious diseases where it was pointed out that since most infections pass via your hands, one of the highest risks is the handle on your grocery cart! (The speaker) recommended bringing sanitizing hand wipes along to wipe off the handle before you go shopping.

I recently noticed that Albertson’s and QFC now provide a little stand by the grocery carts with a dispenser of these wipes. I recommend that you implement this in your stores, along with information explaining why it’s important to prevent spread of colds and flu.

I am aware of the issue of overusing antibacterial products, and we stopped using them in our home. Look at this from the perspective of hand washing. Regular cleaning matters more than germ killing. In Japan, they have the lowest rate of colds, flu and pneumonia because they’re serious about hand washing.
— Russ Hamerly

Mimi Simmons, customer service manager: Thanks for your suggestion. We agree about the hand washing! For many years, we’ve trained staff on this. Sanitary wipes are a complicated issue, since overusing antibacterial products contributes to viruses mutating and becoming stronger, and we have to be sure the wipes wouldn’t violate organic standards, since PCC is a certified organic grocer. Providing appropriate, organic, grocer-safe cleaning wipes is an option I’ll pass on to the folks who are looking into this.

Natural Food Kitchen classes

I wanted to thank Goldie Caughlan, who gave me a sample of Follow Your Heart vegan gourmet cheese alternative mozzarella during the Natural Food Kitchen class in Issaquah to try at home. Please let her know that I love it. My toddler and I cannot have casein, and the alternative cheeses without casein are terrible. This is a wonderful product!

I made a grilled cheese sandwich for my 18-month old using some clarified butter and this product and he loved it. It actually melted and just needed a little salt for flavor. I am looking forward to trying to make macaroni and cheese, pizza and all the other toddler favorites that my little one has missed out on.

The class was very informative and a great introduction to a new approach to eating. I look forward to attending another one. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
—- Tina Terada-Santos

Editor: The Natural Food Kitchen classes are free to PCC members and non-members. Register by calling 206-545-7112.

What goes where

I think whoever designed the View Ridge remodel did an outstanding job. Can we have a feature article on it and how the decisions were made in terms of rethinking the space?

I would like to make a suggestion about sanitation and the bulk food bins. It seems most sensible that open bins, where dispensers are handled by many people, should be reserved for foods that will be cooked (pastas, beans, flours, oats, etc.). But others, (such as) nuts that can be eaten raw should be in the overhead dispensers. I don’t think we should have to wait for an outbreak to evaluate the current set-up.
— Helen Palisin

Stephanie Steiner, grocery merchandiser, on bulk: Thanks for the thoughtful suggestion on what foods should go in open bulk bins. We’ll incorporate it as we plan ahead. But understand that some foods don’t work in a gravity flow bin — they either don’t flow or they gum up the lever. Also, organic foods are placed above non-organic foods to prevent contamination of organics. We’ll tell you about the View Ridge remodel in a coming issue of the Sound Consumer.

Also in this issue

Controlling slugs with coffee

Research has emerged that a safer option exists for pests in the garden: caffeine. Reads on for tips on controlling slugs with coffee.