Conspiracy alert: Safe almonds are part of big food agenda

After two salmonella outbreaks in 2001 and 2004 were traced to almonds from California farms, the Almond Board of California, the marketing agency for California’s largest tree crop, decided to push for a regulation requiring nearly all almonds grown in the United States to go through a pasteurization process before they are passed on to consumers.

The new regulation applies to growers who sell more than 100 pounds per day to an entity, typically retailers and restaurants. Generally, farmer’s markets and roadside stands will remain unaffected.

That exception is not enogh for some folks.  Vinicio Penate says that eating a raw almond is like eating the almond tree, stating,,

"All that strength, all that force, all that information, all the genetics. They’re all there. They’re just untouched."

Jean Chevalier of Taber Ranch in Yolo, whose almonds will now be pasteurized, called the regulation ridiculous, adding,

"I eat ’em raw right out of the field. I still have both legs and I’m not sick."

Judith Redmond, owner of Full Belly Farms in Capay Valley, who has grown organic almonds since 1985, said,

"The mode of industrial agriculture is that instead of addressing the cause, they deal with the problems.”

Apparently the cause is being a farm larger than an acre. And while we’re all delighted to know that Chevalier still has both legs, those who have barfed on almonds in the past may prefer the pasteurization approach.

Almond board spokeswoman Marsha Venable said,

 "As an industry, we have our consumer’s health and safety in mind."