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A billion pounds of almonds

A brother asks, is it over for almonds? I know you will get them from Spain but in the USA, do we the people have any chance in getting our raw almonds back?

Well brother, The California Almond Board has asked the USDA to delay implementation of the “pasteurization” rule until March 2008. It is very likely that The USDA will approve the request. I wish I could say that this is a result of our efforts but it appears to be due to problems in getting all of the treatment equipment in place.

Nutty day

Now the new crop of California almonds is expected to be over one billion pounds, up a whooping 23% over the previous year’s crop. It would take no great prognostication to realize that to fumigate this many almonds is an immense undertaking involving considerable preparation, but like everything else about this whole affair little or no thought appears to have been given and certainly no real consideration of alternatives. 

So anxious was the Almond Board to do their master’s bidding that they stumbled all over themselves; a few figures scrawled on the back of an envelope would have convinced that there simply wasn’t sufficient time to put it together.

Now California almonds are the heritage of the American people. Almonds are grown nowhere else in North America but here. These almonds are the result of the intentionality of family farmers, the fertile soil of the great Central Valley, water from melting snow in the high Sierra Mountains and the California sunlight. They are your heritage and birthright.

Almonds have been grown in California for over 130 years. During that lengthy span there have been but two outbreaks of Salmonella, one in 2001 and another in 2004. Both occurred to almonds that were processed in large industrial plants.

According to the mandatory order, organic almonds would be subjected to a high temperature process using moist heat for less than one minute. Now organic almonds are less than one tenth of one per cent of the total. The vast majority of almonds would be fumigated with propylene oxide (more.)