Thursday, August 23, 2007

Take Action on USDA Decision on Almonds

Use this link to TAKE ACTION NOW through the Organic Consumer's Association.

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 family farmers out of business. The regulation is scheduled to go into effect in just a few short days on Septmeber 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, than pasteurized almonds.

One of the FDA-recommended pasteurization methods requires the use of propylene oxide, which is classified as a "possible human carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer 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.

The agency claims pasteurization is necessary, since there have been two food contamination incidents with raw almonds since 2001.

But both of these incidents, in fact, were the result of blatant mismanagement on large industrial-scale almond farms.

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