almondsAre Almonds Healthy?

California almonds(the almost exclusive grower of almonds in the US) must be treated before sale to the supermarket because of USDA pasteurization laws. How do they treat the almonds?

Almonds require pasteurization in California One method is steam distillation, which denatures the food because of the high heat. The other method is PPO pasteurization using carcinogenic propylene oxide gas (PPO). PPO is so toxic, it is banned from drag racing fuel. Mexico, Canada and the entire EU has banned PPO because of it’s toxicity. PPO is easily absorbed into almonds because of the naturally high oil content of this food.

Generally, “raw” and “natural” almonds have been treated with either of these 2 methods. Organic almonds utilize only the steam pasteurization method.

Here is a list of various almond markets and their method of pasteurization :

  • Costco’s Kirkland Signature chocolate-covered almonds and whole almonds: PPO
  • Diamond of California almonds: PPO
  • Blue Diamond almonds:
    Sliced and slivered almonds: steam-treatment
    Whole-nut “natural” line :PPO
    Other Blue Diamond Almonds products such as Almond Breeze, Nut Chips and Nut Thins use steam-treatment.
  • Planter’s brand almonds (owned by Kraft Foods): steam-treatment
  • Whole Foods Market
    365 brand (organic): steam-treatment
    Conventional 365 brand: unknown
  • Back to Nature almonds: steam-treatment
  • Superior Nut Company almonds: PPO. Their organic almonds sold online, which may be
    imported, may not even be subject to heat pasteurization.
  • Trader Joe’s: all nuts utilize steam-treatment

The best choice is to get raw almonds from a grower who sells in small amounts (less than 100 pounds) in a farmer’s market or food stand, and KNOW YOUR SOURCE.


Credits to Ann Huycke and Jeanine Butler.