Starting on September 1, 2007, it became illegal for 100% raw almonds to be manufactured and sold in the United States, with two exceptions (discussed below). Eating SCD/GAPS/PALEO (some camps) can mean eating nuts if tolerated and ideally properly processed and traditionally prepared thereby making such more easily digested. Understanding what this legislation means for your sourcing almonds is simple.
First, you can read the new law and its specific provisions by going to the website address of the California Almond Board. This site is loaded with processing information you may be concerned with such as: Harvest Issues: Stockpiling, Moisture Content, Quality Problems and Aflatoxin, or listen to the audio on the Almond Update on Russian Import Ban.
For background, the pasteurization law originated due to two outbreaks of Salmonella poisoning; the first in Canada was traced back to an almond grower in California but then a second outbreak at another producer prompted the legislation.
Almonds now are pasteurized by:
- Steam heat to a 200 F temp or
- Exposure to an application of a propylene oxide (jet fuel) that “evaporates” for pasteurization.
- Two pasteurization concerns: The steam pasteurization temperature results in a loss of nutrient and live enzyme activity that is not necessary for a vast majority of almonds. A residue of propylene oxide is worrisome as it is classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen. with a mile long list of “Hazard Summary”.result
NOTE: If almonds are organic they cannot have the propylene oxide pasteurization.
NOTE: These pasteurization mandates do not apply for other nuts such as walnuts and pecans which can be used in a whole foods diet.
The two exceptions to the pasteurization law is when a grower can demonstrate a 4-log reduction in Salmonella content through ordinary manufacturing processes such as enough dry roast or blanching. The second exception is when the grower sales directly to customers at local farmer markets with a 100 pound per person per day limit.
If you want 100% raw organically grown almonds, your only option is to purchase from a:
Grower at a local farmer’s market,
Grower who has received exemption from the mandatory processing rules, or from a
Certified organic almond grower OUTSIDE of the United States who exports almonds to this country.
Sage advice is to skip the Costco almonds (they have skins on them anyway making them more difficult to digest) and just buy the Honeyville Almond Flour (steam blanched and skinless) which is what I use for all my Pinterest PALEO, SCD, and GAPS recipes. Some even use this almond flour to make almond milk SCD yogurt! I make small quantities of almond milk simply by mixing some of the Honeyville almond flour in filtered water.
Other sources of clean almond flour, although I’ve always found them usually higher priced than Honeyville, are: Nuts.com, Wellbees (formerly Digestive Wellness and kosher) , Lucy’s Kitchen Shop, Benefit Your Life (organic), JK Gourmet. And for some, your Costco store actually may sell the Honeyville flour saving you a shipping fee. Mine just discontinued it unless they get a lot of customer complaints; voice your dissatisfaction and bellyache if your Costco did the same.
There you have it… EASY to navigate the almond pasteurization law.