That started out like a great recipe post title, didn’t it? What – almonds and fuel? What’s wrong with this picture?
Did you know that the “raw almonds” in the grocery store, health food store, or at Costco, are most certainly not raw almonds at all?
And did you know that they are most likely coated with a fuel additive. Jet engine fuel additive, to be specific. As in for racing cars and motorcycles.
I know. I couldn’t believe it either. Ick.
I first heard about this problem about 3 years ago when visiting another whole foods friend in a Chicago suburb.
My friend told me something about a chemical called PPO being sprayed on almonds. Like many new scary-sounding bits of natural information (like heavy metals, mercury in vaccines and fish, personal care products in water), I thought, “Oh yeah, sure.” Then I asked her to show me proof. Just in case she was right, you know .
Well, she produced a copy of an article outlining the problem. I got home, did my research, and found out that she was right.
Yes, Virginia, there just might be engine fuel on your almonds.
(Please note: This post used to be called “Almonds Coated with — Jet Fuel?” but I was mistaken by articles that listed PPO as being an additive in jet engines. What they meant wasn’t flying jet engines (though some model airplanes use this fuel), but instead engines in racing cars and motocycles and the like. Sorry for the confusion.)
Why is There Engine Fuel on My Almonds?
Basically, it’s another case of government regulation run amuck.
In 2001 and 2004 there were two outbreaks of salmonella poisoning that were traced back to almonds. 33 people became ill, but no one died. (Contrast that to the thousands of deaths caused by prescription drugs each year, yet the government continues to laud their safety over and above natural supplements and diet change.)
As a result, tons of almonds were recalled.
The Almond Board of California (ABC) panicked, started pasteurization of all almonds and asked the USDA to mandate it.
If you guessed that the governmental agency was all-too-thrilled to comply, you were right.
As a result, all almonds in the US are now pasteurized either by:
- freezing (this is rare) or
- PPO (propylene oxide). According to Local Harvest, PPO is “a chemical so nasty that it was banned by both the National Hot Rod and American Motorcycle Racing Associations, where it had been used as a fuel before being deemed too dangerous.” (why is it not safe enough to be used as a racing fuel, but it’s OK to spray our almonds with this??
Just so you know, I called Costco and they verified that their almonds are sprayed with PPO. A Midwest natural foods supplier, Country Life Natural Foods, said that
typically their almonds are steam pasteurized, but it is best to inquire whenever ordering from them (I have just heard from a reader that Country Life’s conventional almonds are treated with PPO .)
Why should we care if our almonds are pasteurized?
By the way, I am not a huge advocate of raw foods, but keeping your nuts raw gives them added nutritional value. You can read more about raw foods and how to make nuts and seeds more digestible in my post on How and Why to Soak Nuts and Seeds.
How to Get Really Raw (or at least “fuel-free”) Almonds
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options out there.
1. You can purchase “sproutable” pasteurized almonds. I haven’t done enough research into this to know if they are really more nutritionally beneficial than the steamed almonds. I have seen these in our local health food store and they are really pricey (about 10.99 per pound)
2. Purchase imported almonds from Spain. My most recent internet search for these yielded shocking prices of about $13.99 per pound
3. Find a raw almond buying group that buys almonds direct from almond farmers. There’s a little loophole in the pasteurization law that makes it an option to get truly raw almonds as long as you buy them direct from a farmer. I have one of these out of my home and we buy loads of almonds every fall. Not sure if I will keep going it as it was a boatload of work this last year.
4. Become friends with an almond farmer .
5. Grow your own almonds (not an option here in Michigan .)
6. Contact the Almond Board. Maybe if enough of us do, they’ll stop pasteurizing almonds. One can only hope.
7. At the very least, contact your current almonds supplier to make sure that they aren’t spraying engine fuel on your almonds.
8. Read my review on Just Almonds, a seller of delicious almonds that are pasteurized with steam. You can get 10% off your order with CODE WNM as long as their ad is in my sidebar ! We LOVE these almonds!!!
Can’t believe this? There has been so much news of the government over-reaching its reasonable bounds that it simply makes my head spin.
You can read more about some of the more egregious moves of the government in the “Land of the Free” here:
Is your head spinning yet?
Take a deep breath.
Share this alarming information with others and do what you can to wake others up to the need to protect our food freedoms and keep toxic chemicals off of our foods.
How about you – did you know that “Raw Almonds” aren’t really raw?
Where have you been buying your almonds?
Source: Local Harvest