Under pressure from industrial agriculture lobbyists, the USDA has quietly approved a new regulation that will effectively end distribution of raw almonds, while putting many smaller almond farmers out of business. The regulation is scheduled to go into effect on September 1st, unless thousands of consumers take action now.
The rule requires pasteurization of almonds, including organic, yet allows those same almonds to continue to be labeled as "raw". Nutritionists point out that raw, organic almonds are far superior, in terms of nutrition, to pasteurized almonds. One of the FDA-recommended pasteurization methods involves the use of propylene oxide, which is classified as a carcinogen in California and is banned in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Organic and family-scale almond farmers are protesting the proposed rule, saying it will effectively put them out of business, since the minimum price for the pasteurization equipment is $500,000.