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Almond Pasteurization 

As of September 1, 2007 the Almond Board of California (ABC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) made it mandatory for all raw almonds sold to consumers in North America to be pasteurized. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the agency responsible for approving treatment processes. almonds in shell

Currently FDA has approved the following treatments for almond pasteurization:
  • Oil roasting, dry roasting, and blanching: These processes have been around far longer than the recent almond pasteurization requirements and through the historical techniques they reduce harmful bacteria.
  • Steam Processing (H2O): There are many different techniques being used throughout the industry that are acceptable forms of pasteurization that even meet the USDA Organic Program standards. Short bursts of steam are shot onto the outer skin of the almond and do not effect the nutritional integrity of the almond. This process does NOT “cook” proteins or destroy vitamins and minerals. The steam does not change the nutritional characteristics of the almonds.
  • Propylene Oxide (PPO): This too is a surface treatment and does not affect the nutritional characteristics of the almonds. PPO has been used on foods since 1958 and is proven to be very effective at reducing harmful bacteria on the almonds and poses no risk to consumers. PPO residue dissipates after treatment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed that PPO poses no health risk. buy almonds now
LABELED “RAW ALMONDS" -  The FDA, the agency that regulates packaging labeling, has determined that raw almonds treated via Steam or PPO methods may be labeled RAW under FDA guidelines.

ONLY TREATS THE OUTSIDE - Steam (H2O) and Propylene Oxide (PPO) treatments only affect the outside surface of the almond. Unlike juice, milk, eggs and canned foods, raw almonds can achieve equal safety protection against harmful bacteria without affecting the inner core.

WHAT MIGHT I NOTICE? – Many of the industry leaders use the PPO method. It is reasonable in price and is not noticeable to the consumer. Most retail stores and warehouses will sell RAW Almonds that have been PPO Treated. We find that most of our consumers that are looking for “non-pasteurized almonds” are very against the PPO Treatment since it is a chemical process (regardless of the EPA’s findings). Steam (H2o) treated raw almonds might have a slightly different color to them. Especially on the scratched areas on the almond, H20 will dull the bright white scratches, and soften the overall almond. You will notice they are not as crunchy as non-H20 treated almonds.