Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: almonds, California Almond Board, lawsuit, organic, raw, The Cornucopia Institute, USDA
Glenn owns Anderson Almonds, a 20-acre California farm that grows raw, certified organic almonds. In his hay-day, Glenn sold almonds to raw food and organic lovers throughout the entire country.
But Glenn Anderson can’t sell raw, organic almonds to us in Kansas anymore, or really anywhere farther than a few hundred miles from his central-California home. Neither can his peers.
And we have yet another federal mandate to thank for that.
On Sept. 1 2007, Glenn and his peers suffered the fallout of a law passed by the United States Department of Agriculture. The law requires all California almond growers to sterilize, or “pasteurize,” their crop.
Now, almond farmers with nationwide markets have to either spray their almonds with propylene oxide, a known carcinogen, or clean them with 150-degree steam.
Both methods rule out raw-food status and cut directly into the niche market served by small, family farms like Anderson Almonds.
“My market is essentially gone,” Glenn said. He said 90 percent of his business was done online.
The law, passed by the USDA and the Almond Board of California, was in response to two salmonella outbreaks linked to California almonds. Though the 2001 outbreak in Canada was not linked to a particular farm, the 2004 outbreak was traced back to Paramount Farms, the largest supplier of pistachios and almonds in the world.
But the 2007 law doesn’t harm the factory farms that caused this mess. In fact, the law allows some of these large farms that pasteurize their almonds to label their product “organic.”
And the law certainly doesn’t protect customers. Instead, the lack of regulation on organic labels coupled with the new pasteurization law confuses customers and leaves them buying a product they’re not getting.
About the only things the law did were to upset enough raw farmers and their customers to land the USDA with a lawsuit over the issue and to force American consumers to buy foreign almonds, reducing the American-grown, organic almond sales to 1 percent of the national market.
First it was subsidizing corn for ethanol, then it was requiring wind turbines to have coal as a fall back. Now almonds. What’s next? How much longer do we have to wait for the dew of Big Ag to release our small, organic farmers?
By Aly Van Dyke
Thanks to You Tube for the video.
5 Comments so far
Leave a comment