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RE: [RawPortland] Almonds...

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  • Jeff Rogers
    For now, the almonds are safe. They will likely not be pasteurized until 2008. The below press release has more details. The delay affords us more time to
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 7, 2007
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      For now, the almonds are safe. They will likely not be pasteurized until
      2008. The below press release has more details. The delay affords us
      more time to petition the Almond Board and the USDA to leave organic
      almonds alone. For ideas of what you can do to help (letter writing,
      etc.) see http://saveouralmonds.com

      Jeff



      USDA Plan to "Pasteurize" Almonds Has Consumers Going Nuts
      Mandate Would Require Use of Chemical Fumigant or Heat Treatment on
      "Raw" Almonds

      CORNUCOPIA, WI., August 6, 2007 /Natural Newswire/ -- Small-scale
      farmers, retailers, and consumers are renewing their call to the USDA to
      reassess the plan to "pasteurize" all California almonds with a toxic
      fumigant or high-temperature sterilization process. All domestic almonds
      will be mandated to have the treatments by early next year. The plan was
      quietly developed by the USDA in response to outbreaks of Salmonella in
      2001 and 2004 that were traced to raw almonds.

      "The almond 'pasteurization' plan will have many harmful impacts on
      consumers and the agricultural community," said Will Fantle, research
      director for The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy
      research group. "Only 18 public comments from the entire U.S.-and all
      from almond industry insiders-were received on the proposal. The logic
      behind both the necessity and safety of the treatments processes has not
      been fully or adequately analyzed-as well as the economic costs to
      small-scale growers and the loss of consumer choices."

      Last Wednesday, the California Almond Board suddenly requested that USDA
      delay the treatment mandate until March, 2008-it had been scheduled to
      take effect on September 1. "We support this request for a delay," said
      Fantle, "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."

      Although foodborne illnesses have garnered headlines in recent years,
      including contamination of California-grown spinach and lettuce, raw
      produce and nuts are not inherently risky foods. Contamination occurs
      when livestock manure or other fecal matter is inadvertently transferred
      to food through contaminated water, soil, or transportation and handling
      equipment. Raw foods can also be infected by poor employee hygiene and
      sanitation practices either on the farm or in processing facilities.

      "All fresh foods carry some chance of risk," notes Bruce Lampinen, a
      scientist at University of California, Davis, who studies almonds, "but
      there is no more risk now than there was thirty years ago."

      And the fear in the farming community is that this will competitively
      injure smaller sustainable and organic growers. "This will put American
      farmers at a distinct disadvantage in the U.S. and abroad," says organic
      almond farmer Mark McAfee. Fumigated almonds are banned in the EU and
      many other countries. McAfee worries about the impact of the rule on his
      business. Seventy percent of California's crop is exported.

      Several domestic companies that use California almonds are already
      investigating foreign sources for their needs. After buying almonds from
      local producers for over 25 years, Living Tree Community Foods, a
      Berkeley, CA-based natural foods supplier, will soon begin buying
      almonds from Italy and Spain. Dr. Jesse Schwartz, the president of the
      specialty retailer, believes the rule, if implemented, will be a
      travesty for American agriculture. "California almonds are the heritage
      of the American people," he says, "they are superior in every way."

      Jason Mahon owns Premier Organics, a company that produces raw almond
      butter in Oakland, CA. Mahon is also looking to foreign suppliers and
      believes the rule is an unnecessary "fear-based decision of the Almond
      Board, that is clearly trying to protect itself from bad press and
      lawsuits."

      The equipment to meet the new USDA mandate is very expensive, ranging
      from $500,000 to $2,500,000. Farms can outsource the pasteurization
      process, but Hendrik Feenstra, a small-scale California handler of
      organic almonds, believes that to do so will still be prohibitively
      expensive for modest-sized growers and handlers. "Because pasteurization
      companies often charge a flat rate no matter the quantity of almonds, it
      could be four or five times more expensive for small-scale almond
      producers to pasteurize almonds than it will be for industrial-scale
      producers," Feenstra says. And modest-size marketers are concerned that
      increased transportation costs will also add to their burden

      Organic farmers also question the science behind the rule. They believe
      that the sustainable farming methods they use, such as mowing and
      mulching, rather than controlling weeds by chemical herbicide
      applications, naturally prevent the spread of harmful bacteria more
      effectively than treatment after the fact. According to almond grower
      Glenn Anderson, "An organic farming system fosters biodiversity and
      creates an environment where Salmonella cannot survive. This rule
      ignores the root causes of food contamination-the unnatural, dangerous,
      and unsustainable farming practices on industrial farms."

      An important segment of the agricultural community feels that requiring
      small-scale and organic farms to comply with this rule is unwarranted
      and premature, as Salmonella outbreaks have only been traced to a very
      large industrial farm, and there is currently no published research
      pinpointing the causes of the harmful bacteria. "With the costs
      involved, and the implications on trade, they are recklessly
      experimenting with the livelihood of farmers," Fantle added.

      Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence supporting the use of the
      chemical fumigant, propylene oxide (PPO), and steam as the only
      effective treatments to reduce risk of Salmonella. The most common
      method of sterilizing almonds is by PPO treatment, a genotoxic chemical
      recognized as a possible carcinogen that is banned in the European
      Union, Canada, Mexico, and most other countries. Many chemical-free and
      heat-free alternatives are being researched. "The Almond Board has not
      released any of the scientific research justifying their treatment
      choices," asserts Eli Penberthy, a policy analyst at Cornucopia. "This
      rule should not be implemented until alternative technologies are
      thoroughly explored."

      The Cornucopia Institute also contends labeling treated almonds as "raw"
      is misleading and deceptive to consumers. "People choose to buy raw
      almonds for a variety of personal reasons, including health, nutrition,
      and even religious beliefs," Cornucopia's Fantle said. "This rule denies
      them the right to control their food choices by making informed
      decisions in the marketplace."

      In fact, some strict vegetarians who consume only raw foods rely on
      almonds to provide as much as 30% of their caloric intake, believing
      that they are a nutritionally superior alternative to meat in the diet.
      "Raw almonds are increasingly popular for their health benefits," said
      Goldie Caughlan, the Nutrition Education Manager at Puget Community
      Cooperative in Seattle, who estimates that the co-op sells 28,000 pounds
      of raw almonds every year. She said customers are already confused and
      angered by the implications of the rule, and worries how it will affect
      sales.

      Fantle charges that the rule could very well establish a precedent for
      more governmental control of fresh foods. Says Fantle, "If almonds
      require pasteurization, what foods will be next on the list of mandatory
      sterilization, heat treatment, and irradiation? Truly raw, untreated
      nuts, fruits, and vegetables might no longer be legally available in the
      marketplace."

      Public concern about the almond treatment plan has been growing. Over
      1,000 comments opposing almond pasteurization have been submitted to the
      USDA since the plan was approved on March 31, and an online petition to
      stop the implementation of the rule has garnered over 15,000 signatures.
      (To learn more about the issue, go to www.cornucopia.org and click on
      the almond navigation button.)

      The only exemption to the almond treatment regulations will be an
      allowance for growers to sell truly raw almonds directly to the public
      from farmstead stands. Unfortunately, this will give only a limited
      number of consumers in specific areas of California, the only state in
      the nation that produces almonds, access to untreated nuts.

      Diets based on raw foods are integral to some religious denominations,
      such as Seventh-Day Adventism, so the rule poses a threat not only to
      consumer choice, but to religious freedom as well.

      Contact: Will Fantle, 715-839-7731

      http://www.naturalnewswire.com/2007/08/usda-plan-to-pa.html
    • Jeff Rogers
      Just a reminder, there is a loophole in the almond pasteurization ruling. Farmers may continue to operate roadside stands and may sell unpasteurized almonds
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 7, 2007
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        Just a reminder, there is a loophole in the almond pasteurization
        ruling. Farmers may continue to operate roadside stands and may sell
        unpasteurized almonds there. They can sell up to 100 pounds per
        person per day. I hope, but do not know if, this extends to mail/
        internet/phone orders direct with the growers. Many believe it does.
        So, aside from purchasing spanish raw almonds, we do have a way of
        continuing to get unpasteurized almonds, though far from convenient.

        If and when the time comes and the rules necessitate direct purchases
        of almonds, perhaps we can work out a plan between RawPortland and
        RawWashington (previously RawSeattle) to get our almonds.

        Jeff
      • Robyn Cornwell
        Hi Celeste, Recently I found out I am allergic to almonds - because I ate so many! (This can happen with any food item if you eat it all the time; garlic was
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 8, 2007
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          Hi Celeste,
           
          Recently I found out I am "allergic" to almonds - because I ate so many! (This can happen with any food item if you eat it all the time; garlic was the other culprit.) So, my naturopath advised me to switch to an alternative for six weeks.
           
          Hence, I discovered that filberts are not only a great tasting alternate (especially for nut milk), but also cheaper. Just a suggestion. I still don't want to see almonds pasteurized; it's a poor solution to a man-made problem.
           
          Robyn

          Pamela Melcher <dancingcedar@...> wrote:
          Hi, Celeste,

          I commit to buying 1/2 the bag. Maybe we could meet
          at people's and pay for it. I would prefer not to pay
          for the whole bag. If it comes to that, i can do
          that, but would need people to pay me back soon.

          THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE INITIATIVE ON THIS!

          Many Blessings,
          Pamela Melch
          --- Celeste Tanit <blar@pacifier. com> wrote:

          > Hello all,
          >
          > I just spoke with Kwah at People's Co-op about
          > pasteurization of
          > almonds beginning in September. He says there are
          > some distributors
          > who have product from this year's crop, so "raw"
          > will be available
          > until the new crop happens in Sept and those will no
          > doubt be
          > pasteurized. He also plans to try to get organic
          > almonds from Spain
          > which he says are tastier and cheaper but no word on
          > that yet. If
          > non past. almonds are not available, People's will
          > not carry any
          > almonds. Kwah said that Wild Oats may have and be
          > selling
          > pasteurized almonds and not know as the only
          > indication is on the box
          > and clerks may not notice.
          > I would be interested in splitting a 25# bag now in
          > case there is a
          > time lapse in availability. They are soooooo
          > expensive ($12.95/#) so
          > I could take 1/4 of the 25# bag. We would be
          > getting an 8% discount
          > on the purchase of a 25# bag for $298.77 (a savings
          > of around $50 on
          > the bag).
          > I just split a huge order of coconut oil and put it
          > on my credit card
          > so would prefer to not "front" for the almonds if
          > someone else
          > could. If we can not get 4 people to split, I could
          > go 1/3 or even 1/2.
          > Any takers???
          >
          > All the Best,
          > Celeste
          >

          ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
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        • Pamela Melcher
          THANK YOU SOOO MUCH, JEFF!!!! Many Blessings, Pamela Melcher ... http://www.naturalnewswire.com/2007/08/usda-plan-to-pa.html ...
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 8, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            THANK YOU SOOO MUCH, JEFF!!!!

            Many Blessings,
            Pamela Melcher

            --- Jeff Rogers <jeff@...> wrote:

            > For now, the almonds are safe. They will likely not
            > be pasteurized until
            > 2008. The below press release has more details. The
            > delay affords us
            > more time to petition the Almond Board and the USDA
            > to leave organic
            > almonds alone. For ideas of what you can do to help
            > (letter writing,
            > etc.) see http://saveouralmonds.com
            >
            > Jeff
            >
            >
            >
            > USDA Plan to "Pasteurize" Almonds Has Consumers
            > Going Nuts
            > Mandate Would Require Use of Chemical Fumigant or
            > Heat Treatment on
            > "Raw" Almonds
            >
            > CORNUCOPIA, WI., August 6, 2007 /Natural Newswire/
            > -- Small-scale
            > farmers, retailers, and consumers are renewing their
            > call to the USDA to
            > reassess the plan to "pasteurize" all California
            > almonds with a toxic
            > fumigant or high-temperature sterilization process.
            > All domestic almonds
            > will be mandated to have the treatments by early
            > next year. The plan was
            > quietly developed by the USDA in response to
            > outbreaks of Salmonella in
            > 2001 and 2004 that were traced to raw almonds.
            >
            > "The almond 'pasteurization' plan will have many
            > harmful impacts on
            > consumers and the agricultural community," said Will
            > Fantle, research
            > director for The Cornucopia Institute, a
            > Wisconsin-based farm policy
            > research group. "Only 18 public comments from the
            > entire U.S.-and all
            > from almond industry insiders-were received on the
            > proposal. The logic
            > behind both the necessity and safety of the
            > treatments processes has not
            > been fully or adequately analyzed-as well as the
            > economic costs to
            > small-scale growers and the loss of consumer
            > choices."
            >
            > Last Wednesday, the California Almond Board suddenly
            > requested that USDA
            > delay the treatment mandate until March, 2008-it had
            > been scheduled to
            > take effect on September 1. "We support this request
            > for a delay," said
            > Fantle, "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."
            >
            > Although foodborne illnesses have garnered headlines
            > in recent years,
            > including contamination of California-grown spinach
            > and lettuce, raw
            > produce and nuts are not inherently risky foods.
            > Contamination occurs
            > when livestock manure or other fecal matter is
            > inadvertently transferred
            > to food through contaminated water, soil, or
            > transportation and handling
            > equipment. Raw foods can also be infected by poor
            > employee hygiene and
            > sanitation practices either on the farm or in
            > processing facilities.
            >
            > "All fresh foods carry some chance of risk," notes
            > Bruce Lampinen, a
            > scientist at University of California, Davis, who
            > studies almonds, "but
            > there is no more risk now than there was thirty
            > years ago."
            >
            > And the fear in the farming community is that this
            > will competitively
            > injure smaller sustainable and organic growers.
            > "This will put American
            > farmers at a distinct disadvantage in the U.S. and
            > abroad," says organic
            > almond farmer Mark McAfee. Fumigated almonds are
            > banned in the EU and
            > many other countries. McAfee worries about the
            > impact of the rule on his
            > business. Seventy percent of California's crop is
            > exported.
            >
            > Several domestic companies that use California
            > almonds are already
            > investigating foreign sources for their needs. After
            > buying almonds from
            > local producers for over 25 years, Living Tree
            > Community Foods, a
            > Berkeley, CA-based natural foods supplier, will soon
            > begin buying
            > almonds from Italy and Spain. Dr. Jesse Schwartz,
            > the president of the
            > specialty retailer, believes the rule, if
            > implemented, will be a
            > travesty for American agriculture. "California
            > almonds are the heritage
            > of the American people," he says, "they are superior
            > in every way."
            >
            > Jason Mahon owns Premier Organics, a company that
            > produces raw almond
            > butter in Oakland, CA. Mahon is also looking to
            > foreign suppliers and
            > believes the rule is an unnecessary "fear-based
            > decision of the Almond
            > Board, that is clearly trying to protect itself from
            > bad press and
            > lawsuits."
            >
            > The equipment to meet the new USDA mandate is very
            > expensive, ranging
            > from $500,000 to $2,500,000. Farms can outsource the
            > pasteurization
            > process, but Hendrik Feenstra, a small-scale
            > California handler of
            > organic almonds, believes that to do so will still
            > be prohibitively
            > expensive for modest-sized growers and handlers.
            > "Because pasteurization
            > companies often charge a flat rate no matter the
            > quantity of almonds, it
            > could be four or five times more expensive for
            > small-scale almond
            > producers to pasteurize almonds than it will be for
            > industrial-scale
            > producers," Feenstra says. And modest-size marketers
            > are concerned that
            > increased transportation costs will also add to
            > their burden
            >
            > Organic farmers also question the science behind the
            > rule. They believe
            > that the sustainable farming methods they use, such
            > as mowing and
            > mulching, rather than controlling weeds by chemical
            > herbicide
            > applications, naturally prevent the spread of
            > harmful bacteria more
            > effectively than treatment after the fact. According
            > to almond grower
            > Glenn Anderson, "An organic farming system fosters
            > biodiversity and
            > creates an environment where Salmonella cannot
            > survive. This rule
            > ignores the root causes of food contamination-the
            > unnatural, dangerous,
            > and unsustainable farming practices on industrial
            > farms."
            >
            > An important segment of the agricultural community
            > feels that requiring
            > small-scale and organic farms to comply with this
            > rule is unwarranted
            > and premature, as Salmonella outbreaks have only
            > been traced to a very
            > large industrial farm, and there is currently no
            > published research
            > pinpointing the causes of the harmful bacteria.
            > "With the costs
            > involved, and the implications on trade, they are
            > recklessly
            > experimenting with the livelihood of farmers,"
            > Fantle added.
            >
            > Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence supporting
            > the use of the
            > chemical fumigant, propylene oxide (PPO), and steam
            > as the only
            > effective treatments to reduce risk of Salmonella.
            > The most common
            > method of sterilizing almonds is by PPO treatment, a
            > genotoxic chemical
            > recognized as a possible carcinogen that is banned
            > in the European
            > Union, Canada, Mexico, and most other countries.
            > Many chemical-free and
            > heat-free alternatives are being researched. "The
            > Almond Board has not
            > released any of the scientific research justifying
            > their treatment
            > choices," asserts Eli Penberthy, a policy analyst at
            > Cornucopia. "This
            > rule should not be implemented until alternative
            > technologies are
            > thoroughly explored."
            >
            > The Cornucopia Institute also contends labeling
            > treated almonds as "raw"
            > is misleading and deceptive to consumers. "People
            > choose to buy raw
            > almonds for a variety of personal reasons, including
            > health, nutrition,
            > and even religious beliefs," Cornucopia's Fantle
            > said. "This rule denies
            > them the right to control their food choices by
            > making informed
            > decisions in the marketplace."
            >
            > In fact, some strict vegetarians who consume only
            > raw foods rely on
            > almonds to provide as much as 30% of their caloric
            > intake, believing
            > that they are a nutritionally superior alternative
            > to meat in the diet.
            > "Raw almonds are increasingly popular for their
            > health benefits," said
            > Goldie Caughlan, the Nutrition Education Manager at
            > Puget Community
            > Cooperative in Seattle, who estimates that the co-op
            > sells 28,000 pounds
            > of raw almonds every year. She said customers are
            > already confused and
            > angered by the implications of the rule, and worries
            > how it will affect
            > sales.
            >
            > Fantle charges that the rule could very well
            > establish a precedent for
            > more governmental control of fresh foods. Says
            > Fantle, "If almonds
            > require pasteurization, what foods will be next on
            > the list of mandatory
            > sterilization, heat treatment, and irradiation?
            > Truly raw, untreated
            > nuts, fruits, and vegetables might no longer be
            > legally available in the
            > marketplace."
            >
            > Public concern about the almond treatment plan has
            > been growing. Over
            > 1,000 comments opposing almond pasteurization have
            > been submitted to the
            > USDA since the plan was approved on March 31, and an
            > online petition to
            > stop the implementation of the rule has garnered
            > over 15,000 signatures.
            > (To learn more about the issue, go to
            > www.cornucopia.org and click on
            > the almond navigation button.)
            >
            > The only exemption to the almond treatment
            > regulations will be an
            > allowance for growers to sell truly raw almonds
            > directly to the public
            > from farmstead stands. Unfortunately, this will give
            > only a limited
            > number of consumers in specific areas of California,
            > the only state in
            > the nation that produces almonds, access to
            > untreated nuts.
            >
            > Diets based on raw foods are integral to some
            > religious denominations,
            > such as Seventh-Day Adventism, so the rule poses a
            > threat not only to
            > consumer choice, but to religious freedom as well.
            >
            > Contact: Will Fantle, 715-839-7731
            >
            >
            http://www.naturalnewswire.com/2007/08/usda-plan-to-pa.html
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >




            ____________________________________________________________________________________
            Moody friends. Drama queens. Your life? Nope! - their life, your story. Play Sims Stories at Yahoo! Games.
            http://sims.yahoo.com/
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