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Stop Raw Almond Pasteurization

Dear brothers and sisters,

On Friday, March 30th, the California Almond Board passed a mandatory almond pasteurization order. It requires that all almonds be pasteurized beginning September 1, 2007. This is an affront to the live food movement and an insult to organic farming.

It is all the more poignant that this is coming when an abundant new crop of California almonds is expected to be harvested in September. This, after several years of crop failures and a sharp increase in price. Instead of rejoicing with the new crop of almonds, what does Big Almond propose to do? It plans to fumigate them! The order requires that all almonds be treated either with steam or propylene oxide, a toxic chemical. Almonds treated in this delightful way are permitted to be labeled as “raw”.

To be understood properly, this must be seen in the perspective of a deep trend in the food industry:- Before long, it seems, all the food sold in the United States will be genetically modified, irradiated, pasteurized, homogenized, hydrolyzed and packaged for a two-year shelf life and it will all be labeled as “All Natural”. It’s no wonder, then that the United States population demonstrates the lowest levels of mental and physical health of any advanced nation. (Mike Adams, The Big Almond Atrocity,

The most remarkable thing is that there is no distinction between conventional grown and organic almonds. Both are subject to the same pasteurization order. This, despite the fact that the standards of sanitation and cleanliness are higher with organic. Not only is organic thrown into the same boat, but the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), the largest body of organic almond growers was not invited to participate in the hearings on before the mandate became law. Two weeks ago when we heard of it, we phoned the CCOF. It was obvious that they had no prior knowledge. This despite the fact that, by far and away, organic almonds bring in more sales revenue than any other organic fruit or vegetable in California. Seventy-six members of CCOF are either almond growers or handlers.

The enlightened and progressive CCOF has the political clout and know how to contest this. They are the oldest and most reputable organic certification association. We suggest that you write to the CCOF and request that they mobilize in protest. At very least, they should ask for a separate marketing order for organic almonds. Should CCOF fail to act, they will be crushed. The same powerful forces that pushed for the fumigation of almonds are constantly seeking to chip away and erode organic standards. Moreover, just around the bend are yet more sinister threats, e.g. food irradiation.
The new regulation to sterilize almonds coincides with the recent announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that it intends to relax its labeling requirements for irradiated food. The FDA proposal will also allow irradiation... to be called pasteurization... (Press Release,The Cornucopia Institute, 4/6/07)
Then there is the FDA’s long-standing refusal to require that genetically engineered food be labeled.

There you have it:- fumigated almonds are to be labeled “raw”, irradiated food is to be labeled “pasteurized” and that tomato with pig genes doesn't have to be labeled at all.

Please address them graciously and respectfully. Remember the CCOF folks are, for the most part, family farmers. Speak from your heart, and you’ll know what to say.

Please send a copy to us. We’ll collate your letters, send them to CCOF, and publish them on our site. For letters you’ve already written please click on Your Letters.

For more articles and essays on the Almond Crisis please click here.

Jesse Schwartz, Ph.D.
Living Tree Community Foods | Call us: 1-800-260-5534 or 510-526-7106

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