In my search to find raw organic nuts on the internet for my small business, I was struck down by the fact that many websites claim that all almonds sold in the United States must be heat, or steam pasteurized. According to USDA standards, “almonds labeled as “raw” will required to be steam pasteurized or chemically treated with propylene oxide.” This didn’t seem like a good, healthy, or even appetizing option (propylene oxide?), as my goal was to offer truly raw, and organic products.
Fortunately, I have been able to locate true unpasteurized almonds from many sources. My first choice was to have them imported directly from Spain. This was a costly solution, as the shipping charges covered almost as much as the price of my purchase.
More recently, and despite USDA guidelines, there are many sources on the internet which now offer these products from within the US. Many from CA. A Google search for “unpasteurized raw almonds” will yield dozens of results. I was pleasantly surprised to find a source practically in my own back yard in S FL, who obtains raw unpasteurized almonds from a US source, and is able to keep the pricing reasonable. I am also able to avoid shipping charges by doing a direct local pickup, thus keeping my costs down.
What started out as what I perceived to be the USDA working against my desire to keep my products pure, and free of processing and chemicals, had a happy ending. This is thanks to individual distributors who have maintained organic standards, and the rights of Americans to choose.
I also admit to feeling more comfortable receiving products sourced within the US, rather than from other countries. I recently toured a local area farm, where the owner pointed out that organic practices in other countries may not be up to the same standards as in the US. I had to admit that I had never considered this. Most of the products that are labeled as “organic” in markets such as Whole Foods, are sourced from other countries. In my conversation with the farm’s owner, he cited an example of Mexican “organics” where there may be only minimal inspections, and organic standards and practices that would not be acceptable in the US. With the recent widespread salmonella food scares that seem to be more prevalent every day, this is definitely something to be considered.
Today, I am able to offer many varieties of raw, organic, and vegan nut butters on my site. I’m a small growing business, and offer what (I believe) to be unique products that cannot be found in a typical grocery store, or health food market. A link to my site, for those with an interest, appears at the end of this article.
To those companies that have allowed me to have a choice, and realize my dream of producing truly raw organic products, I say a rousing Thank You!