Rootstohealth's Blog


So much New Information!
July 19, 2009, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Doing Well at Home, FDA, Food Safety, Labels

Amazing how that works…you get all comfortable, think there’s nothing new under the sun, and obviously…you learn so many new things in one week that you realize that there’s always more out there.  This week, the news was mixed.

Bad news first – I learned this week that back in 2007, the California Almond Board, FDA, and USDA decided that all raw almonds must be pasteurized before being sold.  This was to prevent salmonella/ E. Coli outbreaks.  The gross bit is that all of these almonds are still being marketed and labeled as raw!! However, studies have shown that this pasteurization process does not affect the inside of the almonds, just the skin, so the nice enzymes and rawness is truly preserved.   This does become a new concern though because there are two different ways that the almonds may be pasteurized.  The almond is either quickly hit with a shot of hot steam, or with propylene oxide…. The FDA claims that propylene oxide is safe, but, being the skeptical chica that I am…I think steam-pasteurized almonds are the way to go.  Especially because California produces 90% of the world’s almonds…and getting your hands on imported almonds will be both tricky and expensive.  This also make a big case for soaking or quickly blanching your raw almonds and removing the skins, especially if your almonds are processed with the propylene oxide. (And a side note: there have never been any documented salmonella outbreaks from ORGANIC raw almonds, and this new equipment is expensive for small farmers…hence the anger over the legislation).

Interested in fighting almond pasteurization? Click here.

Now for the good news!  An addendum to my yogurt making post: I talked with a woman that works at Milk Thistle Farm, the creamery where I’ve been getting my lovely milk from, and I learned that their pasteurization process heats up their milk to 140 degrees tops.  This means, that when I’m doing my yogurt making with that milk, I should only be heating it to 140, or I should just skip the first heating altogether and add in the culture at 115-120 degrees.  Just a heads up if you are using raw or lightly pasteurized milk at home!

Hope you’re learning fun new things today too!

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