They Gassed My Almonds?

Since starting my Anti-Candida Diet a year ago, almonds have become a close friend of mine. They have gotten me through many-a-snack-attack, not to mention all the grain free pancakes, cookies, biscuits, granola, and biscotti. I have come to rely heavily on my new friend.

And then it happened. Our friendship was suddenly on shaky ground. We almost broke it off, really.



Yes, you read that right. It was all due to gas. (No. I didn’t eat too much broccoli.)

Propylene Oxide to be exact.

What is Propylene Oxide (PPO)?

Oh, no big deal really, it’s just used as a fuel additive in racing cars. Don’t worry though, the US National Hot Rod Association has since banned it for safety reasons. It’s also used to make plastics and thermobaric weapons (you know, ones that explode). It seems it is also on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s list of possible carcinogens. Hmm.

And it’s used to pasteurize almonds. That’s right. They spray your nuts with the stuff.

“Oh, but Kathleen, I only buy raw almonds.”

<BUZZ>  Sorry, you lose.



Photo Credit

How About Calling a Spade, a Spade?

You see here’s the deal. Per the FDA, all almonds must be pasteurized. That’s right, even the almonds that say they’re raw,  aren’t. I don’t understand how you can sell something that you say is raw, but isn’t. The Almond Board of California says that pasteurizing your almonds does not change the nutritive value. That’s how they can still claim it is raw. Hmm.

When I first heard about this 2007 mandate passed down through the USDA, I didn’t believe it either. That is until I started making some phone calls.  Winco, New Seasons and Fred Meyers all have ‘raw’ almonds in their bulk section, but they are all pasteurized. Still skeptical? Go grab your phone.

When you call you want to ask,

“Which method was used to pasteurize your almonds, steamed or PPO?” 

You want to ask if they were steamed because some companies choose this method instead of spraying PPO. And the reality is, I would much rather have a steamed almond than a carcinogenic one. I don’t know. Seems better to me.

Who Sells What?

PPO Almonds:  Winco and Fred Meyer

Steamed Almonds: New Season’s and Trader Joe’s

UPDATE: My friend Dani talked to Fred Meyer’s and discovered the bulk organic almonds are indeed steamed NOT sprayed with PPO.

If you buy organic almonds, they must be steamed. But you know, I would check anyway. And just so you know, when you call, don’t be surprised if the Manager on the other line is confused. If they don’t have answers for you, ask for the supplier’s name. Sometimes the supplier has the info right on their website; other times you have to call.

Another Option

My good friend Dawna discovered an almond farmer (who just happens to be her brother’s best friend ) in California who was willing to sell us some of his raw almonds. Okay, some seems like a small number. Try close to 200 lbs.

Here they portion of the almonds. 82 pounds.

And these are truly raw.

If you are set on having unadulterated almonds, this seems to be your only alternative. Find a farmer. I think we cleaned out our farmer, but if you know someone in California, it might be worth asking them if they know an Almond Farmer. I’m sure glad my friend did. We not only scored our own bulk section of almonds, but we paid just a measly $1.50 a pound.

Thank you.

I want to thank my friend Adrienne over at Whole New Mom for enlightening me about this almond scandal. I sure appreciate being informed about what I am eating. Thanks, Adrienne.

You all should bop on over and read her excellent article on this subject. If are dying to know why the FDA would agree to such ridiculousness, she explains how it all happened. When you’re there, stick around and look at some of her awesome recipes. She’s the one who taught me how to make my own coconut and almond milk, oh and those so delicious sugar free chocolate chips.

Do Something.

If you feel a bit outraged that you are not allowed to know through labeling how your raw almonds were treated or that you no longer have a choice to buy almonds truly raw, you can do something. Email the Almond Board of California and tell them about it. Hey, if enough of us complain, maybe they will consider changing their ways. I told them I’ll only be buying mine directly from the farmer from now on.

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About kathleen

I'm a stay at home chicken momma with 2 boys and a very understanding husband. In December of '09, we moved to our dream farm. I'm excited to try to become more self-sufficient. So far I have 1 rooster, 9 chickens, 2 goats (some babies on their way this spring), 1 llama, a dog, and a cat. Come along and join us, as we city-slickers figure out how to make our own homestead. You're sure to be entertained.
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18 Responses to They Gassed My Almonds?

  1. Misty says:

    Love that you posted this!

  2. kathleen says:

    Hey, the world had to know, right? By the way, your 82 pounds are calling your name.

  3. Misty says:

    I know I can’t wait to come get them, I’m pretty sure next week, I’ll be calling to check with you!!

  4. Dani says:

    Ok, so Fred Meyer almonds are PPO. But all the bulk almonds at my FM are so-called organic, which are supposed to be steamed. So should I be steamed? I eat an awful lot of almonds…Do you know what effect soaking the nuts and then discarding the water might have on the residue? Would it rinse some away, or cause it to soak in?

    I know that the USDA says almonds don’t grow here, and they aren’t grown commercially, but we had planted an almond tree at our old house in Portland and it bore a small crop 2 years in a row…it seems it was just getting going when we moved (and the new owner tore it out). I think it’s possible to grow for home use if you don’t have your expectations too high. I think I could probably eat what one tree would bear, all by my little ole self.

    So now I have to go bother the bulk manager at Freddy’s and see if I can clarify about their “organic” almonds…

  5. kathleen says:

    I don’t know if soaking would get rid of the residue. The Almond Board of California claims that as soon as the almonds are sprayed the PPO dissipates, if that makes you feel any better. 😉

    And you know, when I called Fred Meyer I don’t think I specified which almonds in the bulk section I was asking about. I guess I didn’t realize they had different kinds in there! It seems, if my memory serves well, the Bulk Foods Manager didn’t know what I was talking about and just gave me the supplier’s name. So, it would be good if you asked specifically about the organic almonds. Let us know what you discover. If I’m wrong, I’ll edit my post to read correctly.

  6. Jenny says:

    Just sent a message to Almond growers of California. Told them I would only buy direct or just stop eating almonds. Also ask them to reconsider pasteurization an instead consider having growers clean their equipment. Prolly won’t do any good but one more voice. Thanks for the link to the grower’s board.

  7. Kecia says:

    Oh wow, it’s getting harder and harder to eat these days. I’ve recently changed by diet (cut out sugar, flour and most grains) and feel much better. I too found that I could not even sit down without falling asleep. I always thought that it was my Chronic Fatigue. Cutting out the sugar really helped but I still found myself tired after eating even whole grains. My family isn’t going to follow the diet that I seem to need to so it’s pretty tough cooking to make them happy yet have something that I can eat too. It’s worth it to actually stay awake all day though!

  8. kathleen says:

    Good for you! Hey, all we can do is make our voice known. The more they hear from us that we’re unhappy, the better.
    Thanks for stopping by the blog. I hope you come back and visit again.

  9. kathleen says:

    Cutting out all those foods is tough! The good news is it WILL get easier the longer you do it. And hang in there with your family, you’ll soon figure out how to combine both your needs and theirs. For example, when I make Chicken Pot Pie with biscuit topping, I put their flour biscuits on most of the casserole and my almond biscuits on a smaller portion. That way I don’t have to do too much different and we’re all eating the same thing. You can do that with spaghetti sauce too. Put their sauce on noodles and yours on Riced Cauliflower. You’ll get the knack for it. Please let me know if you need more ideas. I’d be glad to share what I’ve figured out.

  10. Emily says:

    Do you know if they use the PPO on other nuts as well?

  11. kathleen says:

    I believe almonds are currently the only nuts.

  12. Maryah says:

    Thanks for the info! It’s amazing the mis-information they can get away with in labeling

  13. kathleen says:

    Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, just when you think you’ve done your research by looking at the label, something like this hits you square between the eyes. I hope you found it useful.

  14. Connie S. says:

    I had heard about the PPO and almonds but hadn’t done any checking up as to which method was used by the supplier of the raw almonds at Freddy’s. Boy was I bummed when I read your post. But now that I’m finally getting around to commenting, I see that perhaps they are just the steamed ones? I didn’t realize though that there might be two types. Guess I’ve got to do my own research here at the OC Freddy’s. Sigh. Just wish food was ‘simple’.

  15. kathleen says:

    I’m not really sure now, Connie. It appears that 2 of my readers got conflicting information from Freddies. Ugh. I would love to hear what they tell you. And yes, I too wish food was simple. I guess we have to move overseas for that. :=)

  16. Annette says:

    I just stumbled across this post. Yes, it’s the sad, horrid truth that almonds are now gassed or heat pasturized. I live in California and was made aware of the bill as it was quietly being passed. It’s disgusting that those of us that desire to eat real food, are having a harder and harder time finding it, thanks to the FDA caring about the health of the general public. NOT! The only way to buy truly, raw almonds now, is to buy them directly from a farmer in California or at a farmer’s market. I’m spoiled and go each week to a farmer’s market to buy my truly, raw almonds directly. However, I’ve never scored $1.50/lb. Rock on! Maybe I should ask my sweet almond growers if I can buy 200 lbs. at a time. 🙂

  17. kathleen says:

    Okay, it’s official. I am SO jealous you can buy your almonds at the local farmer’s market. Lucky!!! And you know, it might be worth asking if you can get a bulk discount. You never know. If you ask, let us know their response.

    Thanks for visiting my humble blog.

  18. Annette says:

    I’ll ask them and let you know what they say, Kathleen. Don’t be jealous – you got an awesome price and I paid so much more. 🙂

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