Dr. Weeks Comment: Call 360-341-2303 for bulk order of raw organic almonds to snack on, make into delicious almond milk or ….. to mix with chocolate!
Dear Dr. Weeks,
Thank you for asking about availability of Raw/Organic almonds. Almond Pasteurization is a BIG topic. ALL almonds sold after September 1, 2007 must be treated to affect a 4-log reduction of Salmonella Enteriditis Phage Type 30 with very limited exception. This was a NEW “outgoing standard” for 2007 determined by the almond industry and approved by USDA. The industry, collectively and working through our Federal Marketing Order (aka the Almond Board of California), has been developing this standard since the second almond related Salmonella illness outbreak back in 2004 (visit www.almondboard.com and review both the Consumer Fact Sheet and the Action Plan links for full details). Some, shorthand this treatment requirement as “pasteurization” which by definition is actually a processing treatment that would deliver a minimum 5-log reduction (higher level of processing).
Big Tree Organic Farms currently uses the technology available through H2O Express. This process is designed as a surface treatment. In this process the almonds, in their bulk containers are placed in a vacuum sealed chamber. Periodically through the process minimal amounts of heat and steam are introduced into the environment (www.bioreduction.com for more information).
We have done some small, in house experiments with our own almonds after they have been through this process. In blind taste tests with some of our grower/owners, no difference could be identified (sensory). We successfully “sprouted” the almonds after the process which leads us to believe that the process is indeed a SURFACE treatment leaving the rest of the almond alive and well, AND we have Lab results showing a marked reduction in Plate Count, Yeast and Mold levels after the process. So we have concluded that this will be a step up in quality for our customers. The Almond Board continues to fund studies of the enzyme activity within an almond pre and post pasteurization for all methods. For now, we feel comfortable that the post treatment almond is still raw.
Regarding irradiation – which is the concern of many when associated with pasteurization – this is a technology that has not even been considered by the Almond industry AND it is not allowed in Organic food production or processing. Regarding chemical pasteurization – yes there is a chemical method of pasteurizing almonds however it is not allowed for Organic food production or processing, therefore it is not even a concern if you are buying NOP compliant, Certified Organic Almonds.
On the brighter side – if you have researched statements by Wendy Larson of Big Tree Organic Farms to various news sources, you may have seen the recent quotes on Food Navigator (http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Legislation/Judge-upholds-almond-pasteurization-law) where the commitment to finding a non-thermal, organically acceptable pasteurization process was declared. Since that article posted, I have been contacted by a number of companies proposing solutions. One is looking very promising – offering a specially formulated bioflavonoid which is already certified organic and being used in