Letters to the Editor

This article was originally published in November 2021

Letters must be 250 words or less and include a name and hometown. Submission of letter grants automatic approval of publication to PCC, including name, in print and online. Submission does not guarantee publication. PCC reserves the right to edit content of submissions. Please email letters to editor@pccmarkets.com.



Plastic bottle ban

Some years ago, I was the PCC member who circulated a petition urging the store to discontinue the sale of plastic bottled water. Some of you reading this letter now signed that petition, which led to PCC discontinuing the sale of individual-sized plastic bottled water. The tap water in our region is already high-quality and safe by public health standards, and the plastic bottle of water is simply a gross privatization of something mother nature provides for free. Water is life. It is precious. It should not be bottled in gross plastic and sold for profit.

I am happy to read in the July Sound Consumer that PCC will now discontinue selling bottled water smaller than 1 gallon and move its plastic bottle drinks to less prominent places in the stores. This will help people rethink our choices. Put the environment and climate over our “convenience.” Bring drinks from home in our own reusable bottles. That sort of thing.

The same priorities can be applied to plastic-boxed produce. With many others, I urge PCC to discontinue selling plastic-boxed greens, herbs and berries. I ask shoppers to stop buying these things. Prepackaged produce encourages our laziness and contributes to plastics production and plastics waste. Free the spinach! Buy it in bunches, skip the plastic bag, wash it yourself!

— Mary Paterson, Seattle

PCC replies: Thank you for your feedback and your involvement on this important issue! We are glad to hear you are happy with our recent move to discontinue selling bottled water smaller than 1 gallon. It is a process, and PCC is dedicated to doing what we can to reduce the amount of plastic in our stores.

Most, but not all the items we sell in packages in produce are also available in “bulk.” Some customers still like the ease of packages and, especially with COVID precautions, they appreciate when the product is behind plastic and not touched as much. However, reducing the packaging in produce has been something PCC has been working on for years, as well as within the overall produce industry. While it does take time, we have seen improvements. Strawberries, snap peas, cherry tomatoes and potatoes are all items we have seen come in a non-plastic container or less plastic in general. We have made a commitment to support any product that comes in a more sustainable package by procuring it, and frequently give feedback to suppliers on different, sustainable prototypes. This has led to advances, including most recently a new paper clamshell from Jacobs Farm del Cabo.

Again, thank you for being an engaged member!

Palm oil and packaging

I appreciate the efforts PCC puts into organic farming and sustainability. Thank you! I am contacting you because we purchased animal crackers from PCC and were surprised that the second ingredient was palm oil. It says nothing about sustainable palm oil on the packet. The rainforest is being destroyed because of palm oil. I urge PCC to not sell any products with palm oil. I also contacted PCC a while ago regarding the Styrofoam containers that hold mushrooms, and the plastic that surrounds the complete bottle of PCC brand supplements. Are there any updates on that?

— Lisa B.

PCC replies: Thank you for reaching out and expressing your concerns about palm oil, which we definitely share!

Unfortunately, palm oil is ubiquitous as an ingredient and it would be challenging to completely eliminate all products that contain it. However, while palm oil has a very bad reputation, it is not an inherently unsustainable choice.

PCC started working on the issue of palm oil in 2016 and we recently finalized our palm oil standard requiring all PCC-made items in the deli/bakery, along with our private label products, to use only sustainably sourced palm oil. Our primary choice is Palm Done Right, which sets the highest standards for sustainable and ethical production of palm oil. We encourage brands to use sustainably sourced palm oil as well and our merchandisers give preference to products with sustainable palm when all other criteria are identical.

We encourage you to learn more about Palm Done Right by visiting their website: palmdoneright.com. PCC’s Palm Oil Standard is on our Honest Products page, along with an FAQ sheet that provides more detail on the topic and PCC’s position.

In regard to your questions on packaging, we do not yet have an update on the Styrofoam mushroom containers, but your concern has been communicated to our sustainability and produce teams, along with the supplier of this product. As for the plastic wrap around our PCC brand supplements—these are required under federal law for evidence of tampering, but we are currently exploring the possibility of reducing the size of these wraps to reduce plastic waste while still complying with Food and Drug Administration requirements. In addition, Vitamer, who supplies our PCC brand supplements, is working on developing a compostable wrapper to replace the current plastic one.

Thank you for being an informed customer and sharing your concerns with us on these important issues.

Animal welfare

I would like to know if any of the eggs you carry come from suppliers who allow debeaking and/or allow starvation to enable early molting. If the answer to either of those questions is yes, I would like to know why this is allowed. What eggs can I purchase from PCC with the assurance that those two procedures are not allowed?

Thank you,

— Linda Creed

PCC replies: Thank you for reaching out regarding the welfare of the hens producing eggs sold in our stores. PCC sets a high standard for the eggs we purchase and launched a newly codified standard this past March 2020, requiring all hens to have outdoor access and not just be “cage-free.” You can find the standard on our website here.

Our initial standard does not explicitly prohibit debeaking and forced molting, but we can confirm none of our producers engage in these harmful and inhumane practices and will consider adding language regarding them to future standard revisions. PCC gathers information on all of our egg suppliers and knows that Wilcox and Organic Valley do minimal beak trimming to help reduce potential injury in some of the larger flocks. This is a safety precaution that does not impact the hen’s ability to eat, forage, or express natural behaviors. Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), an organization that has developed one of the more robust animal welfare certifications, permits this practice in their standard. You can read their statement about what they permit here.

We also are confident that none of our suppliers would engage in forced molting through starvation, either because they have communicated this to us directly or because they have a certification that prohibits the practice. Wilcox, for example, is Certified Humane through HFAC and does not permit forced molting through restriction of feed.

All of PCC’s eggs come from responsible and caring producers and we would recommend purchasing any of the eggs offered on our shelves.

Thank you again for reaching out. It is always helpful for us to hear what our members and shoppers care about to help us do better!

Also in this issue

Farm honors legacy of longtime steward

A 94-acre ranch that had been in the same Snohomish County family for 150 years will be protected from development forever.

“Mac’s Christmas gumbo” makes any day a holiday

Gumbo for the holidays? See why Nancy Leson and her husband, Mac, feast on this fragrant stew each year. Join Nancy’s PCC cooking class for a first-hand view.

Nutritious and more affordable holiday meals

Holiday meals are great, but they can also default toward financial and nutritional splurges. Our guest columnist from Bastyr University suggests ways to eat more wholesome and affordable foods.