When you walk through our doors, you know you’re in a good place.
A place where organic, fresh, local, seasonal and sustainable are always top priority. Where the shelves are honest, the staff is knowledgeable, and every product passes through the hands of our quality standards experts before it ends up in yours. We choose organic, because people, animals and waterways ought to be protected in every way possible. We’re a proud Certified Organic retailer and we partner with the Non-GMO Project too.
What you won’t find in our aisles
Every food item in our stores is screened against criteria developed by our team of quality standards experts. We don’t allow artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, products of nanotechnology or synthetic biology, or hundreds of other ingredients found in foods at other markets. New items with ingredients that are high-risk for being genetically engineered (GE) must be organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.
PCC Community Markets has chosen voluntarily to be a certified organic retailer. This means we developed and implemented stringent procedures to ensure organic product integrity is maintained whenever our staff handles our organic foods — preparing, wrapping, cutting, cooking or otherwise getting foods ready for you. Agents from the Washington State Department of Agriculture inspect our procedures annually in every store and audit our record-keeping to ensure product integrity is verifiable.
All foods labeled and sold as organic in the United States must meet USDA Organic Standards to ensure they’re grown using practices that promote and enhance biodiversity, biological cycles, soil vitality, and animal welfare. Organic methods restore and enhance ecological harmony without toxic pesticides or fertilizers, genetic engineering, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Whether grown abroad or in the United States, they must follow the same rules and standards to bear the organic claim.
We pledged to identify genetically engineered (GE) foods in our stores by 2018 and we are well on our way to meeting that commitment to transparency. Our buyers have been turning away new items with high-risk GE ingredients, such as corn and beet sugar, unless they’re certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified. We also have a staff member on the Non-GMO Project board, which works to maintain strong labeling standards in the food industry until we have mandatory labeling nationwide.
PCC Community Markets is committed to being a positive force in the lives of people who work in our supply chain. We will not tolerate child labor, forced labor, human trafficking, abuse or harassment. We expect employers meet or exceed legal requirements for labor practices, worker health and safety, and housing. We have created and adopted specific standards to avoid labor abuses common in the chocolate, banana, coffee, and seafood industries.
Consumer skepticism about foods from China generally involves concern about contaminated soil and water, and lax oversight on food safety and quality standards. Is PCC skeptical about the integrity and safety of food products from China? The answer is a qualified “yes.” While there have been a number of well-publicized recalls of Chinese imports, none of them involved organic foods. PCC sells no fresh produce from China and very limited frozen produce from China — and all of it is certified organic.
It’s likely there are Chinese ingredients in many multi-ingredient foods in our stores. But since the U.S. Country of Origin labeling law was repealed by the House of Representatives in 2015 (after a trade dispute at the World Trade Organization), traceability of foods from China has become very difficult. The Senate indicated it would consider introducing rules for voluntary country of origin claims but no bill has been introduced. So, regretfully, we don’t always have the product information we want.
PCC has advocated and supported country of origin labeling for many years.
Our standards by department
Ninety-five percent of the produce at PCC is certified organic, supporting healthful choices for people and a healthier environment. Our produce buyers give preference to produce that is both organic and locally grown. If not available locally, they purchase responsibly sourced organic produce whenever possible.
At PCC, we believe the way humans treat farm animals is integral to our own general well-being and the health of our planet. We feel we have a responsibility to see that livestock are raised humanely, free of pain, fear, and psychological stress, and that they’re able to express their natural behaviors. We also think animals are capable of experiencing happiness and enjoyment of life. This is the foundation of PCC’s standards for animal welfare. We maintain they’re among the strongest in the grocery industry.
We understand some consumers believe it’s unethical to consume any animal products and that taking an animal’s life for food cannot be considered humane. We also accept that our role as a retailer is to provide an informed choice for omnivorous shoppers.
All seafood at PCC meets the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch criteria for environmental sustainability. All our wild-caught seafood — fresh, frozen and canned — is from sustainable fisheries using methods that avoid bycatch and harm to the environment. The farmed trout and shellfish we sell are raised without antibiotics or pesticides, and are neverdyed with artificial colors. Our quality standards include criteria for consumer health: We won’t sell seafood species known to be high in mercury or other contaminants.
PCC’s fresh seafood comes from the USA only, in part to avoid seafood procured by illegal fishing and by practices that exploit workers in other parts of the world. Some canned tuna at PCC is foreign-caught, but vendors have provided written assurance that their operations are not engaged in labor abuses. Forced labor exists throughout the world, but the problem is most pronounced in the South China Sea, especially in the Thai fishing fleet, which faces perennial worker shortages.
All of PCC’s fresh milk is certified organic or from cows raised on non-GMO feed. All of our dairy farmers raise their cows on pasture, without ionophores or other antibiotics endemic in the dairy industry. Several brands are from cows bred to produce A2 beta-casein, which some say makes dairy more digestible.
All of PCC’s dairy, including cheese, butter and yogurt, is produced without the growth hormone, rBGH.
HEALTH AND BODY CARE
We believe the ingredients in supplements and body care products are as important as the ingredients in food. That’s why we look for products that are safer for people and the environment. We seek out nonsynthetic items made from renewable ingredients that are fairly traded and produced without genetic engineering. We don’t allow hundreds of ingredients that are common in body care, such as parabens, petroleum compounds, phthalates or triclosan. None of our body care products are tested on animals.
Hair colors are excepted from the list of prohibited ingredients. PCC hair color brands are a safer choice for consumers than those at other stores. At this time, there are no permanent hair colors with nonsynthetic ingredients.
Our goal is to offer our customers beer, cider and wine from producers who farm and ferment with respect for the earth and the health of workers in the vineyards and fields. While producers aren’t legally bound to list ingredients, we seek to do business with those who are transparent and use ingredients that uphold PCC standards.
We seek out flower vendors who are eager to transform the floral industry to a sustainable landscape. We’re happy to say we purchase directly from local flower growers as the seasons allow and from providers willing to verify sustainable growing practices.
All of our roses are certified by the Veriflora Sustainably Grown certification. It provides cut flower and potted plant producers from all over the world with a detailed roadmap to satisfy the emerging market for sustainable products.