Is There Engine Fuel on Your Almonds??

Did you know that engine fuel is on most almonds sold in the US? I heard that but didn't believe it at first. Then I did research and found out that it's true. Here's why there might be engine fuel on your almond and what you can do about it.

I’m always interested in what is going on in the food industry, for example with the FDA shutting down probiotics companies and raiding raw milk farms, police squelching lemonade stands, people going to jail for drinking raw milk, and more.

Now, there’s almonds and engine fuel?  What’s wrong with this picture?

Everything.

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.

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:

  • steam
  • 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 since heard from a reader that Country Life’s conventional almonds are treated with PPO :-(.)

By the way, I am not a total raw foodie, 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 $11 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 had one of these out of my home and we bought 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.

More Posts on the Government and Food

You can read more about some of the more egregious moves of the government in the “Land of the Free” here:

US Moves Closer to Banning Natural Supplements

US Government Says, “Don’t Take Probiotics – Take Arsenic Instead!?”

Government S.W.A.T. Team Shuts Down Raw Milk Farm

California Government Recalls Raw Milk Despite Lack of Contamination

Mothers In Jail – Parental Rights, the Government and Medicine

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 do you buy your almonds?

Source:  Local Harvest

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  1. While it is true that the FDA approved ppo for pasteurization against salmonella around 2004 ppo has in fact been used as an insecticide and anti microbial on herbs, spices and nuts for well over fifty years. And yes, ppo was an additive to fuel. However, your almonds are still raw despite using ppo as it does not cook them it sprays them – rousted almonds are not raw.

    It is true that ppo is synthetic an unnatural to this earth and it is true that animal studies have shown a lifetime exposure to ppo causes cancer. However, many cancer risk studies have shown that there is no risk with current practices involving ppo to any human across the lifespan (infants, adolescents, adults and geriatrics).

    Again, it is true that ppo was used in fuel which caused a person to have lots of exposure as the gas was burned – inhalation exposure. However the expose on almonds is from ingestion and the and there is a small residual. I am unfamiliar with the FDA regulations on ppo’s residual but in canada the max residual ppo allowed is 300ppm on almonds an 0.1ppm on other foods (spices) – obviously because spices are small and 1million spices is less weight/volume then 1million almonds.

    This means that as of right now ppo is known to be safe for treatment and we should not worry too much but encourage our researches to do more research on the subject to ensure our safety.

  2. Christopher de Vidal says:

    What are the true risks? Is this an over-reaction?

    Corn-based alcohol is also used as engine fuel. Does that mean it’s poisonous? Not in small quantities. (Anyone use vanilla extract?) In large quantities, yes: Alcohol poisoning is a real problem.

    Therefore I looked to see if PPO is dangerous. Just because it’s used as engine fuel doesn’t automatically make it dangerous.

    The CDC says, “The potential for propylene oxide to produce cancer in humans has not been determined. However, the results of studies in animals fulfill the criteria in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Cancer Policy for classifying a substance as a potential occupational carcinogen. niosh therefore recommends that propylene oxide be regarded as a potential occupational carcinogen and that occupational exposure be reduced to the lowest feasible concentration.” http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/89-111/

    That study claims that rats who were orally fed 15 – 60mg of PPO per kg of body weight didn’t die at a greater rate than the control group, but they did develop stomach tumors. However, is there a minimum required for risk of cancer? Is it like alcohol, where a little bit won’t do any harm? The CDC didn’t say.

    How much is used for a pound of almonds? I couldn’t find anything.

    Is any of it left on the almond by the time we eat them? This almond seller says no: http://www.justalmonds.com/category_s/55.htm

    If PPO has the same properties as other engine fuels, they’re probably right. For example, gasoline evaporates, leaving only a fraction of the volume of liquid behind. This natural living website reinforces the claim that PPO dissapates:
    http://ethicaleats.blogspot.com/2011/06/almonds-nutty-industry.html

    What is the minimum threashold that causes a risk of cancer? If you must consumer 15mg per kg of body weight every day to cause cancer, and the amount left on one ounce of almonds means you get an equivalent of 0.0000000000000025mg per kg of body weight, do you therefore need to consume 500 pounds of almonds every day to have even a small risk of cancer? (Made-up numbers.) If so, I personally wouldn’t be concerned. But the answers are not there.

    I don’t want to jump the gun here. Can anyone fill in the gaps? I just want to know what the true risks are.

    • Hi there. Thanks for your comments.

      Here are my thoughts.

      1. Just b/c rats are fed a certain amt and it’s deemed to be safe doesn’t prove anything really. We are not rats and furthermore, no tests are done to test the effect of multiple chemicals on our systems. They just test one at a time. So my concern is not just w/ 1 certain chemical but w/ the plethora of chemicals that we are inundated w/ on a daily basis. I am doing my best to eliminate them as much as possible from our diets.

      2. As far as Just Almonds saying that the PPO isn’t there any more, that is the company that I recommend and they don’t use PPO on their almonds. That statement was not from them, but from the FDA. And the FDA thinks that arsenic is OK to eat. http://wholenewmom.com/reaching-out/fda-pfizer-chicken-feed-probiotics-alternative-medicine/ So I am choosing to make up my own mind and not purchase almonds w/ PPO on them b/c I am not sure what to believe from a gov’t agency that is trying to shut down probiotic companies and leave arsenic in chicken. Makes me very frustrated.

      So I hope that helps. Maybe the small amt on the almonds in and of itself isn’t a big deal, but put it together with the chemicals you ingest and put on our body from other sources and I think you have part of the cause of the increase of cancer, autism, autoimmune diseases, and more. What do you think?

      • Christopher de Vidal says:

        What do I think? I am aware of the connection between artificial ingredients/preservatives and cancer. (I noted elsewhere on this blog that my wife was on the board of the Feingold Association.) But plethora or not, I still don’t know how much to worry about this. If the other chemicals I consume per day amount to (made-up numbers) 2mg but the minimum risk threshold is 10mg, and almonds give me 0.0000000000000000025mg more, it’s not a concern to me.

        On the flip side, if almonds give 8mg and the rest give 6mg then yes it would be a big concern. But I don’t have enough information to make an informed decision. I’d prefer more hard facts.

        I get it though, you’re erring on the side of caution. Hey, go for it :-)

        • I don’t have enough info about it. But I will add to this that the almonds in the grocery store (w/ the PPO) also don’t taste as good as the Just Almonds ones so that’s another reason to buy them :).

  3. Do you know of a reputable place to get cashews?

  4. Noelia Martinez says:

    Hello

    First of all congratulations, that is a very useful and informative post.

    I was just wondering if you would be able to help me.

    My client is looking for a farm near Marble Falls in Texas where he can buy unpasteurized almonds. Do you know where and how is the best way to find if there any farms in Texas that produces almonds? As you advice in the post he wants to get in touch with a farmer to get the almonds fresh from the trees but so far I haven’t been able to find anything.

    He is also looking to buy fresh from the farm macadamia nuts. Any tips for this one? We know they are grow in tropical countries so very unlikely that there is any farm in Texas. But any source on this one will be very welcome.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Regards

    Noelia

  5. Hey ma’am! Do you know if almonds that are roasted, chocolate, cinnamon, etc. are treated with PPO? Please and Thank You!

    • Any almonds sold in the US are not supposed to be raw so it doesn’t matter, I don’t think, if they are roasted. If the company bought them in the US then they can be treated. You would need to ask them. Not fun, eh :(?

  6. I shop a lot at Trader Joes, and I notice that their packaged tomatoes, cukes, and other veggies seem to have a super long shelf life. After living in Germany for 5 years, that seems strange to me. In Germany, the fresh veggies don’t last that long. They are not old, but they are not sprayed or gassed. Do you know anything about Trader Joes gassing supposedly organic produce?
    Thanks

  7. Keith Kropf says:

    Thanks for the great information, Adrienne. I don’t want to risk my health eating any traces of PPO or the other contaminants that could be in the PPO (I don’ think the PPO is 100.000000% pure – so what else is in it, and what danger’s lurk in these chemicals?).

    I sent an email to the Almond Board of California, letting them know I and my family and friends will not be buying any more almonds unless we know they are not treated with PPO. I also asked them to end the practice of pasturizing almonds with PPO in California.

  8. Do you know if almonds are sprayed that are used in products like almond milk? Thank you for the article. It’s nice that apparently some of your readers can afford to get cancer using products like artificial flavors, colors, jet fuel, etc. Some of us prefer not to take a chance, especially with our children’s health. It’s just commom sense not to eat poison.

  9. janet kile says:

    I thought I had gotten raw almonds and found out, after soaking them for 2 days, that they were steam pasturized. Anything I can do with these water soaked, still hard almonds??

  10. Adrienne,
    Excellent article and information.
    Much appreciated.
    Reading the comments I am flabbergasted that folks would actually make excuses for the insane use of chemicals in our food supply. Can I just have some Almonds without a chemical spray please? It’s so discouraging for those of us that are dedicated to eating healthy, organic and pure foods. Our body is our temple. What you eat makes you who you are not to mention the side effects of these chemicals that are causing who knows what type of problems. This issue goes so much further and infiltrates our meat supply, our vegetables produced and even our herbs. The only answer in getting off the chemical gravy train is to become self sufficient. The food produced for the masses realizes collateral damage as a necessary component of feeding well over 300 million people. My only advice. Don’t be collateral damage. Wake up.