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Mandatory Almond Pasteurization


Our food freedom is under siege. Like no-more-raw-almonds siege!

Starting in the fall of 2007 all raw almonds in North America will undergo mandatory pasteurization.

via the Almond Board of California

In the past 5 years, the almond industry experienced two food safety incidents in which raw almonds were recalled due to the presence of Salmonella.  While contamination in almonds is not common, the industry determined that aggressive measures were necessary to prevent any other occurrences.

They weren't lying about that whole aggressive measures thing! But what's really going on?

via Seth of Living Nutz

The primary reasons for passing this law are two isolated outbreaks of salmonella, in conjunction with conventional almond farms a few years ago. To the best of our knowledge no salmonella outbreaks have EVER been associated with organic almonds.

Within the past 10 years tomatoes, spinach, green onions, peanuts, grapes, melons, lettuce, and sprouts have all been linked to salmonella outbreaks. Does that mean we should eliminate all fresh produce? Absolutely not!!!

Almonds, the heartbeat of all nuts, literally, have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, a rich source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, protein, fiber and antioxidants to name a few . These amazing and life enhancing health benefits, will be devastatingly reduced if not completely eliminated in the pasteurization process.

So what can you do? More info after the jump:

1) Sign Seth's online petition

2) The Weston A. Price Foundation has put together a fantastic list of people to contact what to say

These are the people to contact....please fax, call or email them and demand:

  1. A true almond label that states clearly that " almonds have been pasteurized"
  2. A second consumer choice label that warns that the "almonds are raw and unprocessed".
  3. That you will not tolerate the pasteurization of your almonds and having them still labeled as a "raw almond". That this is a fraud and a lie.
  4. Tell them that the proposed marketing order denies consumers of freedom to identify and choose whole unprocessed foods.

Marketing Committee Members
Scott Hunter, Chairman
Hunter Farms
12237 Rose Avenue
Livingston, CA 95334
Work: (209) 564-9991
Fax: (209) 394-8007
Email: scotthunter@nextel.blackberry.net

Dan Cummings, Vice Chairman
Cummings-Violich, Inc.
1750 Dayton Road
Chico, CA 95928
Work: (530) 894-5494
Fax: (530) 891-4946
E-mail: dcummings@cvinc.ws

Stacey Humble, Associate Director, Global Marketing

John O'Shaughnessy
Blue Diamond Growers
1802 C Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Work: (916) 446-8576
Fax: (916) 446-8461
Email: joshaughnessy@bdgrowers.com

Susan Brauner
Blue Diamond Growers
1802 C Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Work: (916) 446-8354
Fax: (916) 325-2880
E-mail: sbrauner@bdgrowers.com

Board of Directors of the California Almond Board

Chairman David Phippen
13909 Leroy Ave.
Ripon, CA 95366 (209) 599-6111 (209) 599-4008 fax

Vice Chair Doug Youngdahl
Blue Diamond Growers P.O. Box 1768
Sacramento, CA 95812 (916) 446-8595 (916) 329-3320 fax

Member Susan Brauner
Blue Diamond Growers P.O. Box 1768
Sacramento, CA 95812 (916) 446-8354 (916) 325-2880 fax

Member Wil Hunter
Hunter Farms 1621 N. Lincoln
Livingston, CA 95334 (209) 277-5840 (209) 394-8007 fax

Member Christine Long
Hilltop Ranch, Inc. 13890 Looney Rd.
Ballico, CA 95303 (209) 874-1875 (209) 874-1877 fax

Member Mike Mason
Panoche Creek Packing 15810 Arabella Ave.
Bakersfield, CA 93312 (661) 746-7877 (661) 746-7875 fax

Member Dean Nelson
Sierra Valley Almonds, LLC 12800 W. Shields Ave. Kerman, CA 93630
(559) 280-2148 (559) 843-9010 fax

Member Dan Cummings
Cummings-Violich, Inc. 1750 Dayton Road
Chico, CA 95928 (530) 894-5494 (530) 891-4946 fax

Member Rick Kindle
Gold Hills Nut Co., Inc. 11805 Newport Rd.
Ballico, CA 95303 (209) 634-2022 (209) 634-0407 fax

Member Doug Wells 16508 W. River Rd.
Livingston, CA 95334 (209) 394-7246



I am letting everyone I know about the almond pasteurization process and I signed a petition from the website www.livingnutz.com (where I buy delicious raw flavored nuts). Let's hope our efforts work. We need to be given choices!!


Thanks for posting on this. It's really a big deal, but it should be something that could be resolved easily.

Sounds like some governing types want to be seen as "strong on something," so they're crusading for public health.

What I would suggest is putting together a rough estimate of the almond consumption of all the raw foodists, raw restaurants, and raw snack companies (including Lara Bars which are a big seller) and let those concerned know that their sales to this demographic will fall from 10s or 100s of thousands of pounds a year to zero.

I'm sure the people pushing this bill are well meaning and are simply unaware that there is a serious raw food movement at all. But letting them know that they will be doing unintended economic harm to the industry (which they may even be trying to help) will probably get them thinking.

When you weigh the cost of putting on an extra label saying non-pasteurized with the potential loss of millions of dollars a year, for a business it's simply a no-brainer. Not that we shouldn't be offended by the "fraud and a lie" factor, but if you want to change a business/government practice, that is not the argument to make. You need to talk dollars.

Would someone from Pure or Juliano's or Gratitude mind posting an estimate of annual almond consumption? I think we're talking serious numbers here. And with the community being so wired, word would get around instantly that almonds were no longer raw, and the demand would drop to nil. Over the past three years since I've been raw, I've bought round 50-100 lbs of almonds. At $10-$16 bucks a pound, that's pretty significant. If there are even 10,000 other raw foodists out there doing this individually, that's a serious dent. Adding in all the restaurants and snack cos. it's pretty serious.

So when it comes to almonds, this community has some serious collective purchasing power. And while we probably don't have a "lobbying presence" in Washington or California, a reasonably presented summary of our needs presented to the right people ought to make a real difference.

So let's see if we can avoid the typical hysteria and paranoia and give them a cold, hard (dare I say raw) estimate of their future losses if this prop. goes through. Easy. All it will take is a little organization of data and one well placed phone call.


. . .and of course if it doesn't work, I'd go ahead and call my broker to buy up Brazil Nut futures!

PS- sorry to be so hard nosed about this, but I really would like to see this prop avoided, and this seems to be the best way to actually have that happen.
Stay room temp. . .


I wrote to them and just got a form email back, assuring me that the pasteurized almonds are exactly the same as raw almonds. Riiiiiight. I sent a reply.


You go Dave!


Erica, what did you say?


I just typed this up using Sarma's name as an example (just an example- she had nothing to do with it at all), but anyone could use it from any restaurant/organization. It's not the most beautiful writing but it gets the main points across.

If someone would be willing to do some simple research (like counting the actual number of raw food companies and contacting enough of them to get a sense of annual almond consumption) they could fill in the blanks and send it out.

So this is for whomever out there at WLIR to use as nec. Hope something comes of it- and apologies to SM for borrowing her identity. Feel free to strike it from the posting.

Dear Nut Company Director,

My name is Sarma Melngailis, and I am the head chef and founder of Pure Food and Wine, an upscale restaurant in New York City that serves only 100% raw foods. Word of the forthcoming plans to pasteurize all almonds in the US has reached the vast raw food community in the US, and I’d like to present you with some important data that will effect your company’s sales of almonds once the bill goes into effect in the Fall of 2007.

In case you were unaware, there is a growing movement of people in the US (and worldwide) who will only eat 100% raw foods. Without going into too much detail, we believe that there are substantial health benefits to eating uncooked food, and we have made a strong commitment to this stringent lifestyle. The number of “raw foodists” has grown exponentially in the US over the past several years, and that number is continuing to grow at an accelerating rate. Just as vegetarianism has grown enormously over the past 40 or so years, Raw Foods is catching on as a dietary regime that improves the quality of people’s lives in immediate and noticeable ways- but while it took vegetarianism several decades to catch on, the raw food movement is growing at a much faster rate in a much shorter period of time. (Insert statistic here if possible, i.e. in 1995 there were an estimated, etc. in 2000, in 2006. . .)

For many raw foodists, almonds are a staple of our diet. Almonds are a good source of protein and fats and also form the foundation of innumerable raw recipes- from raw apple pie to raw nut-meat pates to some of the elaborate entrees served at our restaurant in New York. Homemade raw almond milk is a favorite drink. It can be made into raw chai, raw ice cream, or even raw milkshakes. It can be poured over raw granola- an essential ingredient of which is raw almonds!

We realize that the movement is still young and it may not yet have hit your ‘radar screen,’ but let me give you some facts: There are at least 50 organizations in North America (Exact number would be good) that are committed to using only raw foods in their recipes. These include restaurants, nut butter plants, and numerous raw-snack companies. A recent informal survey of these companies shows that their annual consumption of raw almonds is approximately XXXX lbs. This comes to approximately XXXX Dollars per year spent on almonds. My restaurant alone uses from XX to XX lbs. per day, with our snack business increasing in production each month.

As I said, the raw food movement is growing exponentially, and new companies and restaurants are opening all the time as the number of raw foodist consumers increases. In fact it is estimated that the number of raw foodists currently living in North America is approximately XXXX,000. Even with an average consumption of 1 lb per month per individual, that is a significant contribution to your bottom line.

In short, the raw food movement is responsible for approx. xxxx lbs of raw almond consumption annually. If this new pasteurization law comes into effect as written, that number will plunge very quickly to zero. Raw foodists are a tight community and closely monitor the internet to see what new info is out there. The pasteurization proposal is already making the rounds, and there has already been much comment on it. Raw foodists are a savvy bunch and will not be fooled by misleading labels or suggestions that pasteurized almonds are no different from raw almonds. We know what we want, and we aim to get it.

Right now there is a suggestion being floated to amend the law slightly: it recommends that almond plants run two lines of almonds- one that is pasteurized and one that is not, with labels clearly stating which is which. This seems like a reasonable solution whose cost would be well less than the cost of losing tens of thousands of customers for good. While our lifestyle may seem extreme to you, we are generally not a cantankerous group and feel that there should be an easy solution to this problem. Running two lines of almonds would satisfy us as well as those concerned about health risks from unpasteurized foods. At the same time it would guarantee your industry the continued – and growing – support of a demographic that knows and appreciates the value of your product.

Should you have any questions, or if you’d like to hear more about why we prefer to eat raw foods (and how serious we are about the growth of our movement) please feel free to contact me at. . . .

Thank you for your time. I look forward to a truly raw, almond-filled future for all of us.

Best Wishes,



Whoops thats affect, not effect in the first paragraph. . .excuse other late night type-o's please!


Hey there Dave.... this is Sarma. Just wanted to say no worries on using my name (and you spelled it right which is pretty unusual). All for a good cause. I just found this as I'm writing up our next newsletter about this whole Almond Atrocity and was looking for the link to the petition for people to sign. Our newsletter goes to thousands of people so wanted to pass the word along.
:) S


This is absolutely CRAZY!

What's next....a ban on fresh apples?

Good to see there are 3700 signatures on the petition so far, I'll link to it from my blog as well.


Ooh sorry I forgot to check back. I just wrote from the hip and added in the "be sure to demand" things, here it is:

Good Day,
I would like to start by saying that I am battling
Fibromyalgia, a debilitating disease affecting many
women in the USA today. Raw foods have greatly
improved my symptoms in a matter of one month, as they
have thousands like me, and continuing with a raw food
diet I expect to be free of this disease within the
next year.

I understand that almonds in north america will soon
undergo a routine pasteurization process. The
pasteurization of almonds and subsequent marketing of
them as "raw" almonds is false and misleading to
consumers. In a country built on the pursuit of
personal freedoms and the rights of the indivudual,
labeling of pasteurized almonds as raw is a violation
of our rights.

Pasteurized almonds much be labeled as such, clearly
on the front on the packaging. If necessary, a label
warning consumers of the dangers of raw foods can be
added. Anything less is a violation of my personal
pursuit of health and happiness, as I endeavor to eat
foods in their natural state, retaining all their
nutrients and enzymes.

Thank you,
Erica (last name)
Portland, OR

yvette schindler

Michael Durando
Chief of Marketing Order Admin. Branch
Fruit & Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20250

April 21st, 2007 Earth Day

Dear Michael Durando,

My name is Yvette Schindler and I own The Present Moment Café in St. Augustine, Florida which serves only 100% raw foods. Having just recently heard of Docket No. FV06-981-1FR which would ban raw almonds and also label pasteurized almonds as raw has me, my staff, customers and all raw foodists across the land deeply disturbed. There is no foundation for this radical proposal to the organic almond industry which would cripple the healthy raw food diet.

Raw almonds make the bulk of the foods we prepare. We use 180 lbs of organic raw almonds and almond butter per month, over 12,000 lbs per year and growing daily. We will not purchase pasteurized almonds nor be fooled by false labeling.
What we will be forced to do if this is not reversed is purchase our truly raw almonds abroad giving millions of dollars elsewhere that should be recycled back to the United States.

We request that the USDA postpone implementation of the almond pasteurization requirement and reopen the formal public comment period.
In this free country when the citizens are informed of their God given Rights to eat raw, they will speak out loud and clear.

I hope you hear this and respond in a democratic fashion.
We do not burn the hand that feeds us and we want our nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables RAW.


Yvette Schindler
Owner/Present Moment Café
224 W. King St.
St. Augustine, Fl 32084
904-827-4499 phone
904-808-7070 fax

P.S. this is a petition we will be posting at Earth Day, Saturday 21st in St. Augustine, Florida. Let's keep it Live!

Douglas Lee

I am certainly happy that I found out about the pasturization of almonds early in the game. I eat lots of these raw. I will imediately switch to a source, that I KNOW who only sells raw nutmeats. So long Walmart.


so who do we get raw almonds from then.

Dan Hyman

Further information from a grower here:

Rod   Lloyd

Could anybody inform me which countries almonds
are not pasteurised or irradiated ?
The USA supplies a lot of the worlds consumption of almonds however other countries grow them as well .There is no point in buying almonds from the USA if the nutrients are being destroyed as they will be by pasteurisation etc

Rod Wales . UK

Tom Dafoe

As an almond farmer, there are so many other ways to avoid Salmonella, and other toxins. I understand both outbreaks in almonds were related to fertilizing with poultry manure. I just keep the manure out of the orchard, and grow safe, fresh, delicious, healthy almonds and sell them raw, unpasteurized - like nature intended. If you can't make it to the Arbuckle Farmers Market, check out my 'online farmers market' www.homegrownalmonds.com

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