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05/05/2022

PCC Updates Product Standards

Co-op sets criteria for health, environmental benefits, animal welfare, and more
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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PCC Community Markets Introduces Self-Check Kiosks
PCC's Quality Standards Committee is an internal cross-departmental forum that discusses social and sustainability concerns regarding products and the supply chain.

PCC Community Markets has officially updated all of its long-standing product standards to add specific details and requirements bolstering each policy, as well as updating older policies and scheduling new reviews.

These reviews are carried out by the cooperative grocer’s Quality Standards Committee, an internal cross-departmental forum that discusses social and sustainability concerns regarding products and the supply chain. Committee members, who include office leadership and staff, and represent PCC’s merchandising, operations, communications and social and environmental responsibility teams meet monthly.

The product standards’ new requirements include the following:  

  • PCC doesn’t accept products containing synthetic ingredients that are known or probable allergen inducers and skin-sensitizing agents, such as methylisothiazolinone. 
  • The co-op won’t sell any fresh and frozen raw seafood that is rated an “Avoid” by Seafood Watch. 
  • All whole-bean and pre-ground coffee, pre-packaged and bulk, must be certified organic and fair trade or direct trade by a third-party certification. 
  • For fresh meats, no sub-therapeutic or nontherapeutic antibiotics, hormones or growth promoters may be used in any form to control or prevent disease, or to promote growth or feed efficiency. 
  • If vendors disclose produce as being hydroponically grown by labeling the shipments, PCC staff must label the items accordingly at the shelf as grown in soilless systems. 

“Not many grocers have publicly available standards that are focused on sustainability, and setting criteria for health, environmental benefits, animal welfare, toxics concerns,” noted Rebecca Robinson, PCC’s senior product sustainability specialist, in the May 2022 issue of the co-op’s Sound Consumer publication. “The main goal and purpose was to articulate what we’re doing and what our merchandisers do.” 

Last month, PCC detailed its social, economic and environmental progress in its annual report.

Seattle-based PCC, a certified-organic retailer, has 16 stores in the Puget Sound-area cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. The Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Ballard, Central District, Columbia City, Downtown, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op also plans to open a new store in Madison Valley.

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