15 almond growers have filed suit against the USDA in an attempt to repeal the requirements from the FDA’s 2007 ruling which requires that all almonds grown in California be fumigated or pasteurized. This ruling has economically devastated the organic almond growers of California and they are fighting back.
Since the ruling only applies to California grown almonds (almost all almonds sold in the U.S. are grown in California), the industry has seen a huge shift away from U.S. growers and towards growers in Spain and other countries since the rules don’t apply to almonds imported from other countries.
The lawsuit contends that the USDA exceeded its authority, which is only limited to regulating quality concerns in almonds.
Is the USDA’S Definition of Raw Foods Deceiving?
The USDA’s actions have generated an enormous amount of backlash from the raw food community whose members depend on almonds to make several raw foods, including raw milk. The leaders of the raw food movement insist that fumigating or pasteurizing nuts destroys as much as 90% of their original nutritional value. The USDA however, has never made a single statement acknowledging any qualitative difference between cooked foods and raw foods.
Raw food supporters claim the fumigation requirement is deceiving to consumers of raw foods. That’s because the USDA’s regulations still allow the fumigated and pasteurized almonds to be labeled as “raw” which is intentionally deceiving the consumer and destroys their trust in the labeling of all almonds.
According to the USDA, there is no requirement for retailers to alert consumers to the toxic, propylene oxide fumigation or steam treatment applied to raw almonds in California.
The lawsuit has already been assigned a case number and is beginning its move through the judicial system.
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