In 2007 The USDA began requiring that all California grown almonds and any almonds sold as “raw” in the United States commercially must undergo pasteurization. This recent legislation was in response to salmonella outbreaks tracing back to conventional California almond growers.
There are two common almond pasteurization methods.
- One is the ‘washing’ of almonds with steam.
- The other is fumigation of the almonds with Propylene Oxide gas (PPO).
Temperature specific manufacturing processes such as blanching or dry roasting can also meet the USDA requirements – therefore, roasted almonds may not need to be additionally pasteurized if their production is monitored and documented in accordance with industry standards.
Most commercially available conventional almonds are pasteurized using PPO fumigation, while steam pasteurizing is most often reserved for organic almonds.
Maisie Jane’s chooses to use the potentially safer steam method on all of its almonds whether organic or conventional.
The FDA believes the “essential characteristics” of almonds are unchanged by pasteurization (either by steam or PPO)… and that almonds which have been pasteurized can still be considered “raw”. This can be a concern to some consumers who do not consider pasteurized almonds to be truly “raw”. Fortunately, steam pasteurized almonds can still sprout and are therefore considered “raw” by most individuals.