Something like 85% of the almonds in the world are grown right here in the USA, in Northern California.
Most of us who read and write about health subjects have touched on the health benefits of almonds. It's a great food -- but one that changes very dramatically, from good to bad, when heated. As Dr. Oz, Oprah's favorite physician has said, they should not be roasted because that can change the chemical composition of the almond oil, making it unhealthy. Heating almonds also destroys other beneficial nutrients. For those who are on a raw food diet, healthy almonds have been a staple.
But now, buying almonds in the USA means that you are getting, by law, pasteurized almonds. That's right, the government has outlawed its first raw food. Any almond shipped in the USA has to be pasteurized, according to new regulations passed in September. This means that the almonds you buy will be heat-treated, or else chemically treated with propylene oxide (PPO) a chemical that was once an ingredient in race car fuel. PPO has been found to cause tumors in rats, but for some reason the FDA considers it safe for human consumption.
These kinds of "safe for human consumption" things always amaze me. Are you going to purposely ingest a component of race car fuel? No way . . .
What we are left with is "treated" almonds, whether it is pasteurization by heat or chemicals. Not a good prospect for a delicious taste treat that once had been known as a substantially healthy product. The jury is not out . . . more research needs to be done on just exactly has been done to our favorite nut. But it certainly doesn't bode well for a big, California industry.
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