"Raw" Almonds to be Steam-Heated or Treated with a Toxic Chemical
(photo courtesy of morguefile.com)
Small-scale farmers, retailers, and consumers are outraged over a new federal regulation that will require all almonds grown in California to be sterilized with various “pasteurization” techniques. The rule, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quietly developed in response to outbreaks of Salmonella in 2001 and 2004, traced to raw almonds, mandates that all almonds undergo a sterilization process that includes chemical and/or high-temperature treatments.
Although the final rule was just published in the Federal Register, The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, is asking the USDA to reopen the proceeding for public comment. Cornucopia contends that the rule was never effectively announced to the public, and that the reasoning behind both the necessity and safety of the sterilization processes should be questioned before the rule goes into effect this September.
“The new rule is unwarranted and could have many harmful impacts," said Mark Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at Cornucopia. “The costs of the chemical and heat treatments, in addition to the costs of transporting and recording the new procedures, will be especially onerous on small-scale and organic farmers, and could force many out of business.”
According to Andrew Kimbrell, the Director of the Center for Food Safety,
The decision to foist fumigants on unsuspecting almond consumers is just another example of an agency out of control. USDA is being run lock, stock, and barrel by agribusiness and has abandoned its duty to protect the public and the farming community. This USDA decision, along with FDA’s long-standing refusal to label genetically engineered food, and its recent decision to attempt to label irradiated foods as “pasteurized,” is a conscious effort by the Administration to leave consumers in the dark about the dangers lurking in their food.
You can read more about this topic at Cornucopia's web site: Cornucopia Institute
To learn more about the Center for Food Safety visit the organization's web site: Center for Food Safety