Bye RAW almonds, since you will likely no longer ever be available.

Check this out. Those who would protect you from yourselves now want to make almond producers pasteurize their product and allow them to still call it raw. Check the link above out and send off a letter! Below is mine.

I find this to be an utter outrage.

Please suspend the rule requiring the pasteurization of almonds labeled as "raw" and re-open the public comment period. I am vehemently opposed to the USDA's new rule requiring the pasteurization of almonds that will continue to be labeled as "raw". The all but secret public comment period was apparently intended by the USDA to exclude the public. In fact, only 18 comments were made regarding the rules, and all came from the almond industry, who were notified of the draft rule when it was open for public comment in early 2007.

My concerns with the requirement follow:

- One of the FDA-recommended pasteurization methods requires the use of propylene oxide, which is classified as a "possible human carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is banned in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.

- The rule favors big-agribusiness over family farmers. Family-scale almond farmers will struggle with this new rule, since the minimum price for the pasteurization equipment is $500,000.

- If a product is pasteurized via either a chemical or heat process, it is no longer raw and should not be labeled as such. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! Some definitions of raw are;

1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.

Pasteurization by heating is COOKING, the heat alters the food item.

2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture.

Pasteurization is a preparation.

- There have been only been two food contamination incidents with raw almonds since 2001. Each of these was minor and not indicative of a need to rid the country of raw almonds altogether. In fact, both incidences were the fault of improper management of large-scale farms. The cause should be addressed here, not the effect.

Please consider re-opening this rule for public commenting and further consideration.

Thank you.