Ingredients for food

(Revised: 5/30/2018)

PCC Community Markets uses the following list of ingredients as a guideline for evaluating new and existing foods sold in our stores. You can find the guidelines for heath and body care here.

Our Quality Standards Committee meets regularly to consider product issues and concerns and to review specific ingredients.

The following list reflects designations for ingredients, from “acceptable” or “not acceptable” to “under review” and “phasing out.”

New items with ingredients that are high-risk for being genetically engineered (GE) must be organic or Non-GMO Project Verified. If a company cannot provide confirmation, PCC will not carry the product.

For questions, please email productquestions@pccmarkets.com.

Ingredients Function Status
acacia gum emulsifier, stabilizer acceptable
acesulfame-K (acesulfame-potassium) artificial sweetener not acceptable
acetic acid acidulant, flavoring agent acceptable
acetylated esters of mono- and diglycerides emulsifier not acceptable
Advantame artificial sweetener not acceptable
aerosol sprays with chloroflurocarbon propellant not acceptable
algin thickener, stabilizer acceptable
alpha tocopherol antioxidant acceptable
alpha tocopherol acetate antioxidant acceptable
ammonium bicarbonate leavening agent acceptable
ammonium chloride dough conditioner not acceptable
ammonium phosphate leavening agent, dough strengthener acceptable
annatto coloring agent acceptable
Arabic gum emulsifier, stabilizer acceptable
artificial colors (red #3, red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #1, blue #2, green #3) coloring agent not acceptable
artificial flavors flavoring agent not acceptable
ascorbates antioxidant acceptable
ascorbic acid antioxidant acceptable
ascorbyl palmitate antioxidant acceptable
aspartame artificial sweetener not acceptable
astaxanthin (artificial) coloring agent not acceptable
astaxanthin (natural) 1 coloring agent acceptable
autolyzed yeast extract 2 flavor enhancer acceptable
azodicarbonamide dough conditioner not acceptable
baking powder leavening agent acceptable
benzoates preservative not acceptable
benzophenone artificial flavoring not acceptable
benzoyl peroxide bleaching agent for flour not acceptable
beta-carotene antioxidant, coloring agent acceptable
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) antioxidant not acceptable
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) antioxidant not acceptable
bleached flour artificially aged flour not acceptable
bromated flour artificially aged and treated flour not acceptable
brominated vegetable oil (BVO) flavor carrier not acceptable
BST (bovine somatotropin) genetically modified growth hormone used to increase milk production in cows not acceptable
butane glycol humectant, flavor solvent not acceptable
butylene glycol humectant, flavor solvent not acceptable
calcium bromate dough conditioner, maturing/bleaching agent not acceptable
calcium carbonate alkali acceptable
calcium caseinate texturizer acceptable
calcium chloride firming agent acceptable
calcium citrate alkali acceptable
calcium disodium EDTA antioxidant, sequestrant, preservative not acceptable
calcium lactate stabilizer, texturizer, buffering agent acceptable
calcium peroxide dough conditioner, bleaching agent not acceptable
calcium phosphate dough conditioner, firming agent acceptable
calcium propionate preservative, antimycotic agent not acceptable
calcium saccharin artificial sweetener not acceptable
calcium sorbate preservative not acceptable
calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate dough conditioner, emulsifier not acceptable
calcium sulfate firming agent, dough conditioner acceptable
canthaxanthine coloring agent not acceptable
caprocaprylobehenin fat substitute not acceptable
caramel color brown coloring agent not acceptable unless organic
carmine (cochineal) coloring agent, derived from insect not acceptable
carnauba wax anti-caking agent, excipient, glazing and polishing agent acceptable
carob bean gum thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier acceptable
carotene coloring agent acceptable
carrageenan thickener, stabilizer not acceptable, with rare exceptions
casein (milk protein) texturizer, emulsifier acceptable
cellulose stabilizer, thickener acceptable
chlorine disinfectant, bleaching agent in household products acceptable
chondrus crispus (carrageenan) thickener, stabilizer not acceptable in organic products
citric acid acidulant, antioxidant acceptable
cochineal (carmine) coloring agent, derived from insect not acceptable
corn starch thickener acceptable
corn syrup sweetener, thickener acceptable
cottonseed oil oil not acceptable
cream of tartar leavener, acidulant, thickening agent acceptable
cyclamates artificial sweetener not acceptable
cysteine (l-cysteine) additive for bread not acceptable
DATEM (Diacetyl tartaric and fatty acid esters of mono- and diglycerides) emulsifier not acceptable
dextrose sweetener acceptable
di-calcium phosphate dough conditioner, calcium source acceptable
diacetyl artificial butter flavoring not acceptable
diglycerides emulsifier acceptable
dimethicone anti-foaming agent not acceptable
dimethylpolysiloxane anti-foaming agent not acceptable
dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DSS) emulsifier, stabilizer not acceptable
dipotassium phosphate emulsifier, buffer acceptable
disodium calcium EDTA antioxidant, sequestrant not acceptable
disodium dihydrogen EDTA antioxidant, sequestrant not acceptable
disodium guanylate flavor enhancer not acceptable
disodium inosinate flavor enhancer not acceptable
disodium phosphate protein stabilizer, buffer, emulsifier acceptable
EDTA antioxidant, sequestrant not acceptable
egg albumin whipping agent, emulsifier acceptable
Equal artificial sweetener not acceptable
erythorbic acid antioxidant acceptable
erythritol (sugar alcohol) 3 sweetener acceptable, with exceptions
ethoxyquin pesticide, often used as a preservative in livestock/animal feed not acceptable
ethyl acrylate artificial flavoring not acceptable
ethyl vanillin flavoring agent not acceptable
ethylene oxide fumigant, disinfecting agent not acceptable
eugenyl methyl ether artificial flavoring not acceptable
ferrous gluconate colorant for ripe olives acceptable
fructose sweetener acceptable
gelatin gelling agent, animal based acceptable
gellan gum thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier acceptable
glucono delta-lactone acidulant, leavening agent acceptable
glycerin humectant, flavor and color solvent acceptable
GMP (disodium guanylate) flavor enhancer not acceptable
guar gum thickener, stabilizer acceptable
hepta-esters of sucrose fat substitute not acceptable
hexa-esters of sucrose fat substitute not acceptable
high fructose corn syrup sweetener not acceptable
hydrogenated oil liquid oils chemically treated to become solid fats: used to prolong shelf life, provide texture not acceptable
hydrolyzed vegetable protein flavor enhancer acceptable
IMP (disodium inosinate) flavor enhancer not acceptable
invert sugar sweetener acceptable
Irish moss (carrageenan) thickener, stabilizer not acceptable in organic products
irradiated foods sterilized by high energy radiation not acceptable
isolated soy protein nutrient, filler, binder acceptable
karaya gum emulsifier, stabilizer acceptable
lactic acid acidulant acceptable
lactose (milk sugar) humectant, sweetener acceptable
lactylated esters of mono- and diglycerides emulsifier not acceptable
lecithin emulsifier acceptable
levulose (also known as fructose) sweetener acceptable
locust bean gum thickener, stabilizer acceptable
Luo han guo (Monk fruit) sweetener acceptable
magnesium carbonate alkali, anti-caking agent acceptable
magnesium chloride firming agent, color retention agent acceptable
magnesium stearate lubricant, binder, anti-caking acceptable
malic acid buffering agent, flavoring additive acceptable
malt extract flavoring agent, texturizer in meat acceptable
maltitol (sugar alcohol) 3 sweetener acceptable, with exceptions
maltodextrin texturizer, flavor enhancer acceptable
maltose sweetener acceptable
mannitol (sugar alcohol) 3 sweetener, texturizer acceptable, with exceptions
methyl silicon antifoaming, antisplattering agent not acceptable
methylparaben preservative not acceptable
microcrystalline cellulose filler, binder, stabilizer, anti-caking agent acceptable
microparticularized whey protein fat substitute not acceptable
modified food starch thickener, stabilizer acceptable
mono and di-glycerides emulsifier acceptable
mono-calcium phosphate leavening agent acceptable
monosodium glutamate (MSG) 2 flavor enhancer not acceptable
myrcene artificial flavoring not acceptable
natamycin mold inhibitor not acceptable
neotame artificial sweetener not acceptable
nisin preservative not acceptable
nitrates/nitrites antioxidant, flavor, color retention agent not acceptable
NutraSweet artificial sweetener not acceptable
oleoresin paprika seasoning, colorant acceptable
Olestra fat substitute not acceptable
palm fruit oil emulsifier, fat acceptable
palm kernel oil emulsifier, fat acceptable
papain tenderizer acceptable
parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, etc.) preservative not acceptable
partially hydrogenated oil (source of trans fats) liquid oils chemically treated to become solid fats: used to prolong shelf life, provide texture not acceptable
pectin gelling agent, stabilizer, thickener acceptable
phosphoric acid acidulant acceptable
polydextrose artificial sweetener not acceptable
polysorbates (60, 80, etc.) emulsifier not acceptable
potassium acid tartrate leavening agent, acidulant acceptable
potassium benzoate preservative not acceptable
potassium bicarbonate leavening agent, alkali acceptable
potassium bisulfite (see also potassium metabisulfite & sulfites) preservative not acceptable in food, acceptable in non-organic wine and hard cider
potassium bromate dough conditioner, flour maturing agent not acceptable
potassium chloride salt substitute acceptable
potassium gluconate buffering agent acceptable
potassium metabisulfite (see also potassium bisulfite & sulfites) preservative not acceptable in food, acceptable in non-organic wine and hard cider
potassium sorbate preservative not acceptable
propionates preservative not acceptable
propyl gallate antioxidant not acceptable
propylene glycol humectant, flavor solvent not acceptable
propylparaben preservative not acceptable
pulegone artificial flavoring not acceptable
pyridine artificial flavoring not acceptable
quinine alkaloid in tonic water (and other acceptable FDA uses) acceptable
rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) genetically modified growth hormone used to increase milk production in cows not acceptable
Reb D 7 genetically engineered artificial sweetener not acceptable
Reb M 7 genetically engineered artificial sweetener not acceptable
saccharin artificial sweetener not acceptable
silicon dioxide anti-caking agent not acceptable
Simplesse fat substitute not acceptable
smoke flavoring (natural) flavoring agent acceptable
sodium acid pyrophosphate leavening agent, buffer acceptable
sodium alginate thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier acceptable
sodium aluminum phosphate leavening agent not acceptable
sodium aluminum sulfate leavening agent not acceptable
sodium ascorbate antioxidant acceptable
sodium benzoates preservative not acceptable
sodium bicarbonate leavening agent, buffering agent acceptable
sodium bisulfite preservative, antioxidant, color retention agent not acceptable
sodium caseinate (milk protein) texturizer, emulsifier acceptable
sodium citrate buffering agent, emulsifier acceptable
sodium diacetate preservative not acceptable
sodium erythorbate antioxidant acceptable
sodium glutamate flavor enhancer (see MSG) not acceptable
sodium hydroxide alkali acceptable
sodium metabisulfite preservative, antioxidant, color retention agent not acceptable
sodium nitrate/nitrite antioxidant, flavor, color retention agent not acceptable
sodium phosphate buffering agent, emulsifier, protein stabilizer acceptable
sodium propionate preservative, antimycotic agent not acceptable
sodium pyrophosphate emulsifier, texturizer, sequesterant acceptable
sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate dough conditioner, emulsifier, whipping agent not acceptable
sodium sulfite preservative, antioxidant not acceptable
sodium tripolyphosate 4 binding agent not acceptable
solvent extracted oils (as stand-alone ingredient) cooking oils not acceptable
sorbic acid preservative, antimycotic agent not acceptable
sorbitol (sugar alcohol) 3 sweetener acceptable, with exceptions
soy protein isolates protein source acceptable
stevia (rebiana) sweetener acceptable
Stevia leaf extract sweetener acceptable
Steviol glycosides 7 genetically engineered artificial sweetener not acceptable
styrene artificial flavoring not acceptable
sucralose (Splenda) artificial sweetener not acceptable
sucroglycerides preservative, emulsifier not acceptable
sucrose polyester (olestra) fat substitute not acceptable
sulfites (sulfur dioxide) (see also potassium bisulfite & potassium metabisulfite) 5 preservative not acceptable in food, acceptable in non-organic wine and hard cider
Sweet ‘n Low artificial sweetener not acceptable
tartaric acid acidulant acceptable
TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) antioxidant not acceptable
tetrasodium EDTA antioxidant, preservative not acceptable
texturized vegetable protein (TVP) vegan meat substitute, often made from soy acceptable
titanium dioxide 6 whitening agent not acceptable
tocopherols (vitamin E) antioxidant acceptable
tragacanth gum emulsifier, stabilizer acceptable
trans, trans 2,4 hexadienal artificial flavoring not acceptable
tri-calcium phosphate calcium source, anti-caking additive acceptable
Truvia sweetener not acceptable
vanillin flavoring agent not acceptable
vegetable gums thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier acceptable
xanthan gum thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier acceptable
xylitol (sugar alcohol) 3 sweetener acceptable, with exceptions
  1. Astaxanthin in its natural form is the antioxidant that gives wild salmon its color.
  2. Both MSG and autolyzed yeast extract are used as flavor enhancers, and both contain the amino acid glutamate. Glutamate is one of 20 amino acids found widely in all foods at varying levels. Glutamate seems to cause reactions in people when it is isolated and in high concentrations. MSG is 100 percent glutamate that has been isolated and then bound to sodium to make a salt that can be added to foods. Autolyzed yeast extract contains a mix of free amino acids (including glutamate) but since it’s not 100 percent glutamate it does not cause reactions in most people who are sensitive to MSG, other than a few who are extremely sensitive.
  3. Sugar alcohols may upset digestion and PCC does not recommend them for children and pregnant or nursing women until more research is done. Sugar alcohols — including erythritol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol — are synthetic sweeteners and often are produced through bacterial fermentation of wood, corncobs or seaweed.
  4. Sodium tripolyphosate is used to prevent “thaw drip” and as a binding agent to hold flaky fish products together. It’s common in scallops and shrimp. It is a suspected neurotoxin.
  5. Sulfites can be naturally occurring as a byproduct of fermentation in wine and wine products, such as vinegar. Added sulfites are not acceptable in foods, but may be allowed in non-organic wine and hard cider.
  6. Titanium dioxide often may be a product of nanotechnology, which the Food and Drug Administration has warned should not be assumed safe. Nanotechnology is unregulated and its products are not labeled.
  7. Cargill says its EverSweet, produced with genetic engineering and fermentation, will be labeled in the U.S. as steviol glycosides, or Reb M and Reb D.