People have been asking me about this a lot lately, so I thought we would discuss this unbelievable topic. Most people, well I should say everyone, I have talked to is unaware of this fact. Raw Almonds are a popular and a favorite healthy snack and people ask me all the time if they can have them either as just a healthy option or if they can have them while they are on some sort of healing journey.
Well consider this…..
Effective September 2007, the USDA ordered all almond growers to “sterilize”, or treat, almonds in one of several ways. 1) heat them using steam, 2) irradiate them using an ionization process that is very controversial, 3) roast or blanch them, and my favorite, 4) treat them with propylene oxide (PPO).
PPO is a known carcinogen, and most countries, include the EU, have banned imported nuts treated with PPO. To go even further, this chemical is so nasty and harmful it has even been banned by both the National Hot Rod and American Motorcycle Racing Associations, where it has been used as a fuel additive before they said it was too dangerous.
This new rule created some very deceptive labeling. Almonds that have undergone chemical treatments or heating for pasteurization are still labeled “raw.” I bet you as a consumer who purchase “raw” almonds think that those almonds are natural and unprocessed. Even better, there will be NO label requirement to specify what kind of pasteurization treatment was used among the many approved methods or combinations thereof. [in case you are interested here is the source]
So, in fact almonds can be steamed, irradiated, or treated with chemicals, and still be labeled as raw!
This is not the first time there has been a battle over nuts. The FDA sent a Warning Letter to a nut processor and distributor because the company dared to list some of the health benefits of walnuts on its website. The FDA said that the walnuts were being “promoted as drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.” In other words, if you say food is healthy and may help protect against heart disease, or ease arthritis or inflammation, your words have magically changed that food into a drug, and that’s illegal!
There are a couple ways around this to make sure you are purchasing truly raw almonds. One is to buy directly from the farmer. You can do this either at a farmer’s market or online.
In the past there have been multiple suppliers online. However, I can only find a couple at this time.
Blue Mountain Organics – you can find truly raw nuts from Italy on this site
You can also buy almonds that were grown outside the USA. Even though I do not support Whole Foods, they do carry true raw Italian almonds. Check your local store and if they don’t have them, ask the store manager to start carrying them.
***If you do buy raw almonds grown in the USA, stick to organic types to avoid the chemical pasteurization process. These are usually cheaper than truly raw almonds.
In your best health,
Dr. Don Sharnowski