No More Raw Almonds?

Do you know whether the almonds you buy are raw or not?

The label may say ‘raw’ but because of a new mandate by the Almond Board of California, which oversees almost 100% of the almonds grown and eaten in the United States, will falsely label almonds that have been pasteurized as ‘raw’.

The reason for this mandate seems to stem from 2 outbreaks of salmonella in almonds in 2001 and 2004. From my sources, these incidents didn’t involve organic almonds. Why mandate all almonds, both conventional and organic? There have been dozens of salmonella or other outbreaks in other meats and vegetables, should we pasteurize and cook all meats and vegetables as well? Is this overkill?

It’s widely accepted that foods heated over 108 degrees are not considered raw. Pasteurization heats foods in temperatures that range from 150-280 degrees for varying time periods. The purpose is to kill micro organisms, but unfortunately it’s not a selective killer. It also kills the enzymes and nutrients in the food which are then considered ‘dead’.

It’s a scientific fact that foods heated over 108 degrees lose their nutrient quality and the amount of nutrients available are significantly diminished. Studies also show that these heated foods also transform and mutate and cause distress to the human body, in particular blood cells. Some studies also show carcinogenic effects of heated foods.

In as early as 1930, research was done in Switzerland showing what processed and cooked food did to the leukocytes, the white blood cells in humans. Prior to this research it was noted that upon eating there would be an immediate increase of the white blood cells which was called “digestive leukocytosis.” Digestive leukocytosis means that there is a rise in the number of white blood cells after eating.

It was not know why the cells would increase after eating and this increase usually meant that the person had been exposed to a harmful substance such as toxic chemicals, a trauma or infection.

Then at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry, Dr. Paul Kouchakoff found that eating unaltered, raw food or food heated at low temperatures did not cause a reaction in the blood. Kouchakoff also found that if the food was processed or heated beyond a certain temperature it caused a rise in the number of white blood cells. He found that foods that had been refined, homogenized, pasteurized, or preserved causes the greatest increase in white blood cells.

Of course, there’s the issue of truth in labeling.

If a food is pasteurized, it certainly isn’t raw. The definition of raw (from the Random House dictionary) is:


1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.

2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.


Mislabeling is not only wrong, but can be criminal. Consumers ought to have an informed choice, to know how the food was altered, or not altered. This seems to go against any ‘truth in labeling’ movement and deceives the public.

The mandate is planned to take effect in the fall of this year (2007). Enjoy your raw and living almonds now, after the fall they may not be available. To contact the Almond Board of California and share your views, visit their web site at:

http://www.almondboard.com/utilities/FORMContactUs.cfm

or call them at: (209) 549-8262

Also, the Weston Price Foundation has put together a great background and list of people to contact.

To your BEST health!

Mark

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