Letters to the editor, May 2010

This article was originally published in May 2010

Green cleaning tip

After reading Green cleaning (April 2010 Sound Consumer), here’s a tip: To soften clothes and remove static cling, I use two old washcloths and an environmentally friendly liquid fabric softener. Simply drizzle a little softener on each cloth, pat to absorb, and toss in the dryer. I have had the same bottle of softener for over a year.
— Becky Glass, Bothell

Bee workshop

Thank you for Missy Anderson’s orchard mason bees presentation at the Redmond PCC in March. Her talk was so informative and fun. I hope you will have her back again to help spread the great value of mason bees in our gardens and orchards.
— Billie Cairns, Sammamish

Missing PCC

Just a quick note to say how much I miss PCC now that I’ve moved from the Seattle area. You folks are a resource that I took great advantage of while living there and do so sorely miss now that I am gone. The lack of respect for health-conscious food and lifestyle choices here actually brings tears to my eyes when I think too much about it.

I continue to get my Sound Consumer and relish reading each one. And if/when the time comes again for me to be back up in my loved Great Northwest, I will enjoy with every particle in my being the value and respect I found for nutrition and its relation to the environment, and for the prudent and conscientious social activism gathered underneath the umbrella of all things PCC. With great regard,
— still an active member, living in Kansas

Raw milk

I cannot believe that PCC has succumbed to the pressures of misinformation and politics, or legal worries. I have been drinking raw milk for several years and have had absolutely no problems. I also eat raw meat, honey and eggs without worry or problems. I know there are some risks with any food, whether raw, organic or conventional, and I accept those risks gladly because the health benefits far outweigh any minor risk.

PCC supplying raw milk has been the main reason why I have frequented your store. After being a loyal customer of PCC for 20+ years, I’m very sorry and disappointed that we will be parting ways.
— Mike Pagan


For a company based on natural and healthy foods, it’s ridiculous that you would stop carrying arguably the most nutritious and natural of foods. The potential negative side of raw milk is overstated and over-hyped. If raw milk was as dangerous a food as it’s made out to be, then wouldn’t humans have stopped drinking it thousands of years ago?

I wonder if you will stop carrying whatever vegetable or fruit that’s unfortunate enough to be affected next by E-coli contamination? What’s the difference?
— Noel Berube, Seattle


I went to your Web site and saw that you had no reasoning for this decision other than the usual mainstream, hand-wringing excuse that raw milk is a “higher risk” food. Interesting, considering that PCC continues to sell so many foods that are “higher risk” in terms of obesity and overall health, such as pastries, ice cream, candy, cookies, potato chips, “natural” soda, etc.

Just because a potato chip is “organic” does not make it something that we should put in our mouths! Just because a company uses “organic” sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup in their soda does not make it a health food! If you offer customers a choice about whether to buy this junk food, why do I and other customers not have the choice to purchase raw milk? 

I began drinking raw milk about a year ago after researching the pros and cons and the history of pasteurization. I’m a journalist and health writer who is planning to earn a master’s degree in nutrition. I have far more faith in the commitment of a small, local producer to do the right thing than I do in: a) some huge farm in California that raises E. coli-tainted spinach and then distributes it under about 100 different brand labels in virtually every store in the United States, or b) the “food additive” manufacturer who reveals that (whoops!) one of its used-in-everything artificial flavoring agents (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) was found to be contaminated.

I love my local PCC. Truly I do. But you have effectively lost a customer.
— Carrie Dennett

Editor replies: PCC does not view raw milk itself as an unhealthy food. As our CFO Randy Lee says, we understand the reasons why people want it and that’s why we offered it in the first place, as a customer choice. However, risk assessment and liability cannot be avoided in the equation. As a retailer, PCC is choosing now to avoid the risk that bringing it through our retail channel poses. The risks to customers and the organization are apparent, based on other retailer experiences.

We had a good working relationship with both farmers and PCC is working with them to help ease their transition to replacement markets. The farmers say they welcome calls to let you know where their products are available.

Dave’s bread

Some fellow PCC members recently submitted a letter to the editor containing a message that they had left on the Dave’s Bread Web site. They commented on Dave’s use of terms such as “killer” and “bomb” in his packaging. Apparently they’re not satisfied with Dave’s personal transformation from a life of crime to trying to create a better world (as Dave says) “one loaf at a time.”

As a member of PCC for nearly 25 years, a lifelong supporter of peace and human rights, and a former conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, I take exception to their demands. Terms such as “killer” (which means “great”) and “bomb” (which means “the best”) are simply common street vernacular and have no destructive, discriminatory nor cruel implications, and will, in the long run, go the way of terms such as “far out” and “groovy.”
— Eric Madis, Seattle


“Bomb” has many meanings but the one in question here describes a mini-baguette called a “peace bomb.” Read the following on the packaging: “WARNING: May cause overwhelming sense of peace, love and happiness. Use of peace bomb around strangers may cause spontaneous friendliness, leading to good vibes and lifelong pals.”

This definitely is the kind of thinking I would promote to my children at my dinner table. Please do not support this initiative to boycott Dave’s Killer Bread.
— David Fox, Kirkland


Dave, WE LOVE YOUR BREAD as well as your philosophy, your story and your concern for the environment. All of these are compatible with the PCC business model. Buy the bread and enjoy it, or don’t buy the bread if you think the words on the labels will harm your children.
— Nancy Cooper

Editor replies: PCC is not discontinuing Dave’s Bread. We run letters with various points of view to provide a forum for public discussion.

Here’s the response from Dave himself: “From the time I started making bread again after leaving prison in December of ‘04, I have sustained occasional criticism of my marketing ideas, which are really just (for me) fun and colorful ways of expressing how good a product is (killer) or in the case of Peace Bomb, just a notion that we can “bomb” peace on the world, by making ourselves the best people we can be, and thereby influencing the world with how we behave and the good that we create. I still feel very good about my marketing, which is honest as well as fun. If anyone decides not to eat my bread because they don’t like the name … well, thank God we live in a country that still allows for freedom of choice, as well as freedom of speech (and marketing). Thanks again and many blessings.”

Wireless deli signs

I was disheartened on my last visit to the Greenlake store to see that PCC had jumped on the wireless bandwagon with new wireless deli signs. The new signs are a threat to the health and well-being of staff and customers.

All wireless technology (bluetooth, wi-fi, cell phones) works via pulsed microwaves, a form of non-ionizing radiation. Radiation awareness is very poor in our wireless-obsessed culture, but the scientific evidence of harm from wireless technology increasingly is overwhelming.

A recent Environmental Working Group (EWG) report (ewg.org/cellphoneradiation) detailed the many ways that cell phone radiation — an important source of pulsed microwave — is affecting our health. The effects cited include cancer, Alzheimer’s, damaged sperm, behavioral problems in children and cell death.

The Freiburger Appeal is a document that, along with others modeled on it, has been signed by more than 3,000 doctors around the world. An excerpt:

“One can no longer evade these pulsed microwaves. They heighten the risk of already-present chemical/physical influences, stress the body’s immune system, and can bring the body’s still-functioning regulatory mechanisms to a halt. Pregnant women, children, adolescents, elderly and sick people are especially at risk.”

Bottom line: Wireless technology is dangerous and, in most applications — deli signs, for instance — it’s completely frivolous. I, for one, liked the colorful old signs. In stark contrast to the new ones, they were both legible and nontoxic.
— Josh Finley, Seattle

IT Director Gary DeBoer replies: These wireless deli signs have been discontinued. We were looking at them to see if they could provide more accurate or timely information, labor savings, or other business efficiencies. In the end, from a subjective point of view, we agreed that we just didn’t like having them by our food. Thank you for the informative EWG and Freiburger references.

Also in this issue

News bites, May 2010

Soda tax helps weight loss?, U.S. allows GE sugar beets, Seven states probe Monsanto, and more

A new model in farmland preservation

I’m asked this question all the time: Why did you buy a farm that you will never personally farm? I respond: I was hungry, literally starving, to save farmland from the wide, insatiable mouth of development. I yearn for the once lush and productive farmland of the Kent valley that now only “grows” warehouses.

Your co-op, May 2010

PCC annual board election, Meet the candidates — virtually and in person, Member mailing, and more