Are raw almonds really raw?

In the case of almonds, “raw” means something like not having gone through an additional cooking process to whiten and remove the skin from the nut flesh. So raw almonds are cooked, but not as cooked as they could be, or as cooked as blanched almonds. Almonds are a portable healthy snack. Although natural and raw almonds may sound like two names for the same thing, they are different.

Natural almonds still have their skin, whether they have been cooked or not. Whole Foods, Sprouts, and other health food stores sell almonds that are truly raw. Those are the ones that are imported and are often much more expensive because they are not from California, which is where most of the world's supply of this particular nut comes from. Both steam-treated and carbonated almonds can still germinate, so the FDA has ruled that they can be sold as “raw.” A small proportion of almonds are pasteurized by oil roasting, dry roasting, or scalding in boiling water, but they are partially cooked and cannot be labeled as raw.

The legal loophole for buying truly raw (unpasteurized) is through imported almonds, which, oddly enough, is legal to sell in their raw form in the U.S. UU. With an ORAC value of 4.454, ounce per ounce, this nut has almost the same level of antioxidant activity as raw blueberries, which measure 4,669. I just called Costco and asked what method they use to “sterilize” almonds, and they use PPO ???? I guess I'll go return my almonds. However, if you bought raw almonds at the grocery store, you might be surprised to learn that they aren't quite raw.

Pasteurization kills the fungus and its spores, so treated almonds are free of salmonella and aflatoxins. Eating unraw almonds that have undergone an unhealthy process to remove cyanide or raw almonds that contain cyanide. Understanding the background of the pasteurization law is important, as it is the result of a threat mainly due to the method that almonds are normally harvested, in the soil of the orchard, where there are many pathogens. In fact, producers are allowed to export their unpasteurized almonds to other countries, so the law is not about consumer safety and, unfortunately, it seeks to have the California Almond Board protect its market share.

The case-control study identified raw whole almonds as the source of infection (odds ratio, 21.1; 95% confidence interval, 3.6 to infinity). According to Gatti, this convention is probably part of the reason why more people don't know about almond pasteurization in the United States. Had I not been a raw food enthusiast at the time, this news would probably have gone unnoticed. The objective is to ensure, through steam pasteurization, that almonds do not carry bacteria from the fields to consumers.

Researchers at the University of Toronto asked a group of people to eat 2 ounces of almonds a day for a month. Well, according to the California Almond Board, “Raw almonds are pasteurized almonds that are not roasted, and almond producers are allowed to use this nomenclature on labels, however confusing it may be for consumers. It will implement a rule that requires raw almonds grown in California's Central Valley to be pasteurized.

Estelle Shawcroft
Estelle Shawcroft

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