Did you know that starting in the fall of 2007, truly raw almonds will not be available in the USA or Canada?
The FDA, USDA and the California Almond Board has developed a marketing order which mandates that all almonds must be pasteurized. This came about because ” two outbreaks of salmonella, associated with conventional farms several years ago”. Industry has now overreacted in grand fashion and they do not even know it yet.
No outbreaks have been associated with raw organic almonds to date that we are aware of.
This has everything to do with lack of biodiversity and the sterile farming methods used on conventional farms. On these farms few weeds or grasses grow on the floors and little sunlight reaches the floors. To the contrary, Organic farms support and encourage biodiversity with green floors in the orchards and this discourages pathogen growth. Unfortunately, organic almonds are shelled and bagged on the same production facilities as conventional and are being subjected to the same rules.
There is an even bigger issue. The FDA has decided not to tell the consumer the truth about this processing step. The almonds you will buy in Whole Foods this fall may still say “raw almonds but they will have been subjected to high heat and a five log kill step…that they are calling Pasteurization”. This lie is being permitted by the marketing order!!
The FDA in association with the USDA and the Almond Board is in fact denying you the information required to make informed choices when you buy food. You will not be able to identify a pasteurized almond from a truly raw whole, enzyme rich, unprocessed almond.
The almond board claims that the almonds will still sprout ( still some life in them ) and that the flavor does not change. But yet no research has been performed to see what kind of opportunistic bacteria will take over when the almond has been sterilized. It is not a whole natural food anymore. It will now be a processed food.