The Cornucopia Institute has reportedly filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the USDA and the California Almond Board seeking documents on which the government agencies relied in adopting a rule requiring the pasteurization of raw almonds grown in California. The Wisconsin-based organization has apparently been unable to obtain information and scientific studies supporting the agencies’ position on the effectiveness of pasteurization and “the comparative nutrition, quality, and safety of pasteurized almonds and raw untreated almonds.”

According to the Institute’s research director, “We have taken this step because we have been frustrated by the Almond Board and the USDA’s unwillingness to share the science behind the rule, the science that purports to show that treatment with either a toxic fumigant or steam heat is safe and does not affect the almond’s taste and nutritional qualities.” The Institute claims that the rule may have been adopted before scientific studies were complete and suggests that “the rule was passed prematurely and without sufficient review” because the data have not been produced to date. See Cornucopia Institute Press Release, October 2008.

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