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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.



  1. The Cornucopia Institute: The Authentic Almond Project
  2. Natural News: Food Scam: Almond Board of California to falsely label pasteurized almonds as “raw”

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2 Comments to "Myth: “Raw” almonds are actually raw"

  1. Claudia says:

    Good to understand a little bit more about what they meant by pasteurization of nuts. Now I wonder if the Spanish organic almonds I sell in my store are pasteurized or not. I need to check that. Do you know anything about the EU regulation on that topic? Don’t want to offend you with my question, but maybe you know it…

    Great blog.

    • Kate Gardner says:

      No offense taken at all! I’m glad you’re looking into it for your customers, I have great respect for vendors that care about the products they sell. Unfortunately I don’t know anything about the EU regulations, but a good place to start is to contact your supplier. Good luck and thanks for reading!

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