According to a press release from the Cornucopia Institute small-scale farmers, retailers, and consumers are renewing their call to reassess a USDA plan to "pasteurize". The press release says that all domestic almonds must have the treatments by early next year in response to outbreaks of Salmonella in 2001 and 2004.
Will Fantle, research director for The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, was quoted as saying, "The almond ‘pasteurization’ plan presents many harmful impacts for consumers and the agricultural community. The logic behind both the necessity and safety of the treatments processes has not been adequately analyzed."
Last Wednesday, the California Almond Board requested a delay in the treatment mandate until March, 2008, which had previously been set for September.
Fantle was further quoted as saying, "We support this delay, but a delay, due to the industry being unprepared, isn’t enough. The USDA must also re-open the rule for public review and comment so that those who have been shut out of the decision-making process can have input into any almond treatment plan."
Already producers were coming up with ‘nutty solutions’ to offer customers the opportunity to “rent” trees for the season. In the same way that cow share programs allow raw-milk advocates to legally obtain unpasteurized dairy products, “tree shares” would allow almond eaters to keep eating raw almonds.