California Almonds In The News Again

Back on April 12th of this year, Jean and I did a podcast alerting listeners about Raw Almonds and the California Almond Board. Unfortunately their ridiculous mandate on pasteurizing almonds has come to fruition. As of September 1st all almonds grown in California must now be pasteurized. This rule has gone into effect because of 2 outbreaks of salmonella poisoning, one in 2001 originating in Canada and one in 2004 originating in Oregon.

The most egregious part of this unvoted upon legislation is that these pasteurized almonds won’t even have to be labeled as such. In the infinite wisdom of the ABC, these lifeless almonds treated with carcinogenic chemicals can be legally labeled as raw. You won’t know the difference between real raw almonds and those that have been treated. The only solution is to just not buy almonds from California any longer.

But what about raw almonds you ask? What about sprouting almonds for healthy raw recipes and making almond milk? Apparently the Almond Board of California (ABC) doesn’t care about the raw community that needs raw almonds for their diet. Apparently the ABC doesn’t care about the organic almond farmer in California either. Organic farmers take great care in the quality of their product and have never had a problem with unsafe almonds. This ruling will hurt the small organic farmer because raw food enthusiasts will look elsewhere to import the real thing.

It is especially ironic that the ABC in trying to insure the safety of the almond crop is introducing a chemical (propylene oxide) in the pasteurization process that the FDA has classified as a “probable human carcinogen” thus making it unsafe to eat almonds for the long run. I thought the ABC was trying to protect us?

Fortunately the rule exempts roadside vendors from complying so folks in the local area where almonds are grown can still get the raw product. However, it does make it quite inconvenient for most everyone else. I can see a cottage industry of hundreds of roadside vendors springing up to be able to sell enough product to the raw community. Now there’s an opportunity for someone.

What can you do as a raw food enthusiast? Write to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns at agsec@usda.gov to let him know how you feel.

Alan

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