So it turns out that your almonds are pasteurized if you they originate in the US – almost always CA – and you buy them at the store. There are a number of ways to do this, but the top two are to 1) steam them and then dry them, or 2) fumigate them with a toxic chemical called propylene oxide (PPO) which is a known carcinogen.
There are downsides to both, but bigger downsides (IMHO) to the carcinogen. Steaming and then hot-air drying the almonds causes a loss of nutrients, so you aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals you think you are. PPO, however has been shown to still exist on almonds up to 300ppm post-process and been associated with respiratory cancer upon inhalation and mucous membrane cancer upon ingestion. You don’t want to know how they found this out, but let’s be glad they did.
So, which brands use which technique? I wondered to myself while munching with sudden trepidation on Trader Joes “raw” almonds. Luckily someone else has also had that thought and done some phoning around to ask. Both Trader Joes and Whole Foods were quite righteous about fumigation ‘not meeting their standards’ (hooray) and Planters also uses the steam technique. Costco brand and Diamond uses PPO. Blue Diamond (confusingly named) seems to use a mix of techniques.
so GAH. It seems like the best bet for raw almonds/nuts etc. is to get them from companies NOT in the US that don’t have such draconian pasteurization requirements and can legally sell raw untreated nuts. And since I am avoiding Amazon like the plague due to its disgusting Breitbart connection, I’m going to go here: http://www.terrasoul.com
Let me know if you want to do a group order.