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What YOU can do to make almonds safe...

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  • sunnymilanna
    http://us.f609.mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter? MsgId=2147_3456766_204861_1538_14173_0_38880_46904_1326703000&Idx=7&Y
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 19, 2007
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      We have prepared a Press Release. We'd like to ask your help in
      getting it out. Could you please send it to your local newspapers,
      tv, radio and other media. Suggest that you follow up by phone to
      call it to their attention. In addition you can send it to CNN, Fox
      News, Associated Press, NY Times, Boston Globe and the Washington
      Thank you indeed!


      September 17 , 2007 - Press Release

      Dear Editor,

      Over one billion pounds of almonds are being harvested here in
      California. The California Almond Board in conjunction with the USDA
      has mandated that they be fumigated. Now almonds have been grown in
      California for over 150 years. During that lengthy span there have
      been but two outbreaks of Salmonella, one in 2001 and another in
      2004. Both occurred with conventional almonds, not organic. What's
      going on here? Its not hard to conjecture that it has something to
      do with the advent of large scale industrial processing. An almond
      grower clued us in:-
      Almonds are harvested by having a machine come along and shake the
      trees. The almonds fall to the ground and are gathered up. Now
      conventional almond orchards are often fertilized with fresh manure.
      (This is prohibited for organic almonds where manure has got to be
      well composted.) Its not hard to see this as the source of the
      contamination. But that's not all.
      The almonds are then put in bins and loaded on trucks. Around a
      processing plant there may be acres filled with trucks sometimes
      waiting for days till its their turn to unload. So the almonds sit
      there in the hot sun, in bins covered with tarpaulins. The almonds
      are moist and are there baking in the sun What more ideal conditions
      for every sort of bacillus to flourish? Could there be a more
      perfect petri dish?!
      The problem could be resolved, it seems to us, by foregoing fresh
      manure and by just in time scheduling so that there is no need to
      have trucks waiting around for days. Instead they have chosen to
      fumigate. What a delightful solution. (Reminds us of the meat
      packing industry- instead of cleaning up the unspeakable conditions
      in slaughter houses, they want to irradiate meat.)
      Organic almonds are handled differently our farmer friend told us.
      They are grown in orchards filled grasses and wild plants. All
      summer long the orchards are mulched and mown. The grasses and trees
      are alive with insects, birds and animals. This biodiversity is a
      natural check against any untoward organism. Conventional almonds on
      the other hand are grown in lunarscapes. The ground beneath the
      trees is bare-after all, nothing must get in the way of production.

      Now propylene oxide is a substance very much like ether. It is a
      highly toxic, flammable chemical compound. It was once used as a
      stock car racing fuel, but, we are told, it has been banned by the
      National Hot Rod Association as too dangerous to handle. It is also
      used as a military explosive, we were edified to learn. No one gets
      near the stuff unless dressed in a space suit equipped with a
      respirator, rubber hands and boots. We were further edified to learn
      that The United States Food & Drug Administration approved its use
      to "pasteurize" raw almonds. But we find this, somewhat difficult to
      understand, as propylene oxide is classified by the Environmental
      Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen. "Probable",
      although it has caused cancer in laboratory animals, because no one
      has been willing to imbibe the stuff to see what would happen. One
      would imagine that this would be of concern to an agency ostensibly
      charged with safeguarding the nation's health. But then there are
      many things one could imagine. We learned further that propylene
      oxide belongs to the so-called "radiomimetic" genotoxic chemicals
      group, because it induces similar biological end-points as ionizing
      radiation. The chemical's effects on food include gene mutation, DNA
      strand breaks, and neoplastic cell transformation.

      Needless to say, this is quite unsettling as regards the long term
      effects on the health of those who eat almonds regularly. It appears
      that propylene oxyde may be more of a health risk than whatever harm
      might be caused by Salmonella outbreaks.

      At a time when Americans are increasing concerned the safety of the
      food they eat, the Almond Board has sent them a powerful message
      about better toxicity through chemistry. We note that the propylene
      oxide treatment of foods is banned in the European Union, Canada,
      Mexico and most other civilized countries.
      Let us also remember that almonds are consumed by children, adults,
      expectant and nursing mothers and elders.
      Yet the California Almond Board is rushing to fumigate. As we see
      it, this is a dangerous precedent. Before long, most food sold in
      the United States will be genetically modified, irradiated,
      pasteurized, homogenized, hydrolyzed and labeled "natural", of

      Almonds are the most nutritious of nuts. It is tragic that the
      California Almond Board is fumigating them. In doing so, they are
      destroying a thriving American industry.

      The San Francisco Chronicle recently did an interview with us and
      others in the industry. It appeared as a front page feature story:
      Organic Almond Supporters Roast Pasteurization Plan

      There is a wealth of additional information on our website at:

      As we see it, California almonds are the heritage of the American
      people. Almonds are grown nowhere else in North America but here.
      They are the result of the intentionality of family farmers, the
      fertile soil of the great Central Valley, water from melting snow in
      the high Sierra Mountains and the California sunlight. They are our
      I would be pleased to provide further details.

      With kindness and appreciation,

      Jesse Schwartz, Ph.D.
      Living Tree Community Foods
      (510) 526-7106 ext.12
      (510) 526-9516 fax
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