Letters to the editor, March 2012

This article was originally published in March 2012

Labor Rights, Worker Unions

Other than the high quality of food PCC provides, I shop PCC because management honors the rights of PCC employees as union members. So I am very happy to see the cover story, “Justice for farmworkers” (January).

For all the economic muscle of the global oligarchs, unions consistently have proven to be the one political vehicle capable of giving workers a united platform to fight for fair wages and the health and pension benefits needed. To see PCC boldly support farmworkers makes the food I buy at PCC taste even better.
— Patrick Burns, member since 1984.

Body Care Standards

I just read the latest Sound Consumer and was overcome with gratitude! Thank you, PCC, for providing so many things.

An easy place to shop, where I don’t have to read every label because I know PCC’s standards match or even exceed my own (see “Avoiding pesticides in soaps, deodorants and toothpastes,” January), and where I know my money is going toward ethical practices. A genuine forum in your paper for people to ask hard questions and receive thoughtful answers. Education about so many things that affect our physical and environmental health. A connection with the real people who grow our food. A commitment to the future through PCC Farmland Trust. I am so thankful I have a place like PCC near where I live. It’s a fantastic resource and truly lives its values. With great appreciation,
— Trena Redman

Paleolithic Diets

I was so thrilled to find the article “Paleolithic diets” on the front page of my February Sound Consumer! Thank you for helping spread the word with excellent science and personal accounts of how a Paleo-inspired lifestyle and diet can drastically improve health and well-being.

I consider PCC to be the best local grocer for the quality foods we encourage people to eat. I hope we can look forward to seeing more recipes, cooking classes, and prepared dishes at PCC supporting a Paleo-based diet. I also appreciate this information coming from our local medical and research community.
— Autum


I follow a modified Paleo diet and am down 50 pounds over the past two years. I went from 38 percent body fat to 21 percent, and it felt nearly effortless, especially when compared to my previous “weight loss” attempts.

I am experiencing the best health of my life so far and have much more vitality than before. I advocate personalized versions of this diet for patients who need to lose fat or who have diabetes with excellent results.
— Dr. Selena Eon, N.D., Bellevue

Non-GMO, Organic

I want to thank you for providing one of the few choices out there for true organic and non-GMO food. I plan on shopping at your stores over other grocers due to your more collaborative and consumer-friendly stance on GMOs. With reports of GMO DNA being found in rats, it’s amazing they’re still putting this stuff in our food.

It is my goal to help keep this revolution going by encouraging capitalism that actually provides us with healthy products. Many others are waking up to the poisons that are disguised as everyday foods. I imagine non-GMO and organic foods are going to have great years ahead compared to the rest of the food industry.
— Shawn Dyas

Editor replies: To help build your shopping list with verified non-GMO foods, visit our website and under the “Shop” tab, choose “Non-GMO shopping.” It is PCC’s goal to be GMO-free, a goal declared in 2010.

Chinese Imports

First I want to commend your company on its commitment to providing foods that are good for our bodies and where animals are treated humanely. After watching a program called “Food, Inc.,” it’s nice to know there is some place we can buy foods that we know are good.

Since you have such concern about the well-being of people and what they eat, and in how animals are treated on the farms, I believe that you’re concerned about the wellbeing of people in the way they’re treated from places that you do business as well.

That’s why I’m concerned that most of the housewares you sell are made in China. The human rights record in China is one of the worst in the world. Its system of “reeducation through labor” detains hundreds of thousands of people each year in work camps without a court hearing. Each year, China forcibly repatriates around 4,000 refugees to North Korea — where they face imprisonment, torture and even execution. Please bear this in mind as you carefully choose products for your store that promote humane treatment for all of God’s creatures.
— Doug Wright

Editor replies: We make every effort to stock U.S.-made products but our buyer says sourcing housewares made in the USA is very difficult. Some housewares, such as stainless steel water bottles and many kitchen gadgets, are available only from China. In weighing availability and affordability with quality and sustainability, we get others from Germany or Spain (glassware), India (linens), and France (cookware). Our buyer nevergives up trying to source domestic housewares and routinely attends trade shows to stay on top of what’s new.


I’m writing in response to the Seattle Times article, “Questions remain about organic foods grown in China” (January 7). I’m concerned about China being a major producer of organic products in the United States.

I was surprised to hear that country of origin labels are required only for single ingredient products. I have young children, so multi-ingredient products such as granola bars, tofu dogs and chocolate chips are part of our everyday diet.

I do most of my shopping at PCC so am I safe in assuming these products don’t have “organic” ingredients from China? I understand most soy-based ingredients come from China. It seems most products with more than a few ingredients have soy oil, soy protein, soy lecithin, vitamin E (soy-based?) or some other soy derivative on the label. I see it even in chocolate chips, which I didn’t consider processed!

I’d like to know what to avoid and how to identify Chinese imported products at PCC. Should I be concerned about soy additives, given that China doesn’t adhere to the same standards as the United States regarding chemicals and carcinogens?
— Ann Pottier

Editor replies: China is the main exporter of soy products and ingredients but 93 percent of the non-organic U.S. soy crop is GMO, carrying numerous health risk concerns, including an increased risk of elevated pesticide residues.

We don’t know what imported Chinese ingredients are in multi-ingredient foods because the country of origin labeling law excludes such foods. We do know some single ingredient foods, such as pumpkin seeds, goji berries, some Asian noodles, and some teas come from China since they’re identified as products of China on labels. You’re right that most vitamin E is derived from soy because it’s cheaper than extracting it from wheat, which was the chief source until the late 1990s.

New Concerns About Roundup®

I would just as soon do without the microwave and do use my stovetop a lot. Can we have an article in Sound Consumer about this concern? Not everyone is going to take the time to look it up on the Internet and I’m concerned that my grown-up daughters might not listen to me if I bring it up.

I just shared the article “New worries about Roundup” (February) with my brother, who thanked and replied with the link http://goo.gl/0z9Ig, “More Damning Evidence Points to Pesticide as Cause of Mass Bee Deaths.” It is well worth reading and related to your article. Thank you for bringing this to light.
— name withheld

It would be helpful if the info you provided in the article would identify the novel organism found in high concentrations in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup.
— Michael Schiesser

Editor replies: We also would like to see more information about Don Huber’s claims. Huber and other scientists have not identified what the pathogen is, nor have they named it. You may wish to see an interview Huber did with Dr. Mercola on YouTube. He explains what he describes as the observed and potential effects of the organism.

Huber says he is waiting for test results to identify the sequence of the pathogen’s DNA before publishing his research.

2,4-D GE Corn

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) just closed a public comment period on Dow AgroScience’s request for commercial approval of a new type of genetically engineered (GE) corn engineered so it can be sprayed with the herbicide 2,4-D, a key compound of Agent Orange.

Dow seeks determination on whether it’s “likely to pose a plant pest risk.” I can’t speak to the risk it might pose to plants, but it seems to me the question they should be asking is, “What is the risk to human beings?!” The question we should be asking is, “Why do they need this GE corn?”

2,4-D is known to bioaccumulate and cause severe birth defects, so surely they don’t consider the corn “food?” And just where do they expect this corn to be when sprayed with this component of Agent Orange? Near a city or village where the wind carries it to people?! Oh, and if their genes end up in our crops they’ll sue us for patent infringement. George Orwell would be so pleased.
— Diana Hingston


Thanks for all your good work educating PCC members. I’ve been an avid reader of the Sound Consumer for many years. I just came across an opportunity for informed PCC folk to tell USDA what they think of the path of wanton chemical use and genetic perversion in agriculture.

“Mother Jones” has an article about Monsanto and Dow teaming up to try to slow massive Roundup Ready crop failures with more GMO tricks and greater herbicide use. It links to a USDA environmental impact statement (http://1.usa.gov/wzl2R1) and goes on to outline an agriculture scientist’s alternative vision.

The point is, it’s time to holler at the feds to keep them from taking the “easy” path paved by agribusiness clout and chemically tainted cash. Public outcry can make a difference and may be the only thing that will. Could you please call on the sensible outrage of our fellow co-operators?
— Daniel Sackett

Editor replies: We’re aware of Dow’s petition for approval of its 2,4-D corn and sent a PCC Advocates (our e-news alert) urging subscribers to take action before the February 27 deadline. If you’re not signed up to get these occasional alerts, as events warrant, visit pccmarkets.com/issues/advocates.

Also in this issue

Hungry Planet - What the World Eats

Imagine your family collected every food and drink it consumes in a typical week — every carrot, every grain of quinoa, every coffee bean, every PCC take-and-bake pizza — and you took a snapshot of it all piled up in your kitchen. What would the photo show? That’s the question you may ask yourself after visiting the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture’s exhibit, “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats,” which runs through June 10 and is sponsored by PCC.

Coffee rediscovered

All coffee at PCC is organic, fairly traded, shade-grown, and Northwest-roasted. We’re excited to share the great quality of our brew and we’d love you to try it — stop by our coffee bars for a small drip coffee for just 50 cents all month! If you make your own at home, try any of these six brands, in packages or bulk.

Light affects nutrients

Researchers have found that exposure to light affects the nutrients of fruits and vegetables.