News bites, September 2006

This article was originally published in September 2006

PCC tops for tots

Readers of ParentMap magazine have named PCC their favorite locally owned, family-friendly grocery store in the magazine’s annual “Hidden Gems of Puget Sound” contest. Readers were encouraged to look beyond the national chains to discover the local and independent businesses and attractions that make our area unique. (ParentMap)

Hospitals serving organic food

More than 2,000 U.S. hospitals now have access to natural and organic foods, including milk produced without rBGH and meat and poultry without antibiotics. The deal was struck between MedAssets, a group purchasing agent for the health care industry, and United Natural Food Inc., the largest wholesale distributor of natural and organic foods. It’s the first such contract between a major health care buyer and organic food distributor. ( /Truth Publishing LLC)

USDA revokes organic certifier license

For the first time since organic standards took effect in 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revoked the license of an organic certifier. The American Food Safety Institute International of Chippewa Falls, Wis., apparently certified a seed farm that used prohibited chemicals even after another certifier turned the farm down for that reason. It also reportedly allowed a bottled-water company to use the USDA organic label even though water cannot be certified organic. (Dallas Morning News/Associated Press)

Sustainable tea bags

In an effort to further reduce its environmental footprint and meet growing demand, Choice Organic Teas of Seattle is using a new machine that replaces staples on teabags with knotted string. The machine is from an Italian manufacturer (Industria Macchine Automatiche) and will prevent more than 400 miles of staple wire from going into landfills.

In 1989, Choice began making tea bags without glue or heat-sealed polyfilaments to provide the purest tea in materials causing the least environmental impact. (Choice Organic Teas/Granum Inc.)

Parabens in bodycare

British researchers at the University of Reading say that chemical preservatives found in breast tumors probably came from underarm deodorants. Eighteen of 20 breast tumor samples had high concentrations of parabens, which mimic the hormone estrogen and are known to play a role in development of breast cancers. Parabens are used in cosmetics and some foods to increase shelf life.

The researchers say their results might help explain why nearly 60 percent of all breast tumors appear in the upper-outer quadrant near the underarm. They say they don’t know if parabens actually cause tumors but that there’s a link to breast cancer rates. (Journal of Applied Toxicology/ news service)

Kettle Foods sold

A London-based firm, Lion Capital LLP, has agreed to buy potato-chip maker Kettle Foods of Salem, Ore. Kettle was started in 1978 by Cameron Healy, a former shopper at PCC, and is one of the leading premium salty-snack producers in the United States and U.K. Kettle is expected to generate sales nearing $150 million this year. Terms of the transaction aren’t yet known. (Food Marketing Institute)

Soybeans vs. the rainforest

The Brazilian Vegetable Oils Industry Association says it no longer will buy soybeans from plantations carved out of the Amazon rainforest. Soy is the top cash crop in Brazil and a leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon. About two-thirds of the acreage deforested between 2003 and 2004 was planted in soy. Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, two of the world’s largest soy traders, have agreed only to a two-year moratorium on purchasing such soy. (Associated Press)

Also in this issue

Letters to the editor, September 2006

Water bottle choices; Packaging and plastic; Biofuels, land use and farmers; and more

Your co-op, September 2006

Talk to the board, PCC public policy report, Fall Member Meeting, and more