Myth: “Raw” almonds are actually raw
TRUTH: Nearly all of the world’s almond supply is grown in California. Every year, for a few weeks in the spring, millions and millions of bees are brought in to the pollinate almond trees (which only flower for 3 weeks). Then, the almonds are harvested and “pasteurized”. Don’t you love that word? So vague that no one questions it, because the long winded answer sure to follow isn’t worth it. Pasteurization of almonds is a mandatory California law to ensure food safety. In this case, pasteurization means treated by steam (therefore not raw) or treated with a chemical called propylene oxide (also, no longer raw).
Pasteurization for milk is quite common, and most of us know that “pasteurization” means the milk is heated to a minimum temperature to kill bacteria and parasites. The almond industry is hoping you’ll assume the same for almonds, but you should never assume!
BOTTOM LINE: Organic raw almonds are not raw, but they are organic (pasteurized by steaming). If you live in California, you can get small truly raw quantities of almonds directly from farmers, just like you can get truly raw milk directly from farmers (on the farm) in New York. However, almonds anywhere else in the nation aren’t actually raw.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
- The Cornucopia Institute: The Authentic Almond Project
- Natural News: Food Scam: Almond Board of California to falsely label pasteurized almonds as “raw”