In the name of consumer safety, the USDA (Ag Department) ruined small almond growers, mostly in California, and gave their business away to big companies. It did this by suddenly requiring that all almonds be “pasteurized” using one of several methods, methods which required expensive equipment that small growers could not afford. The agency did this so suddenly that small producers had little choice but to shut down or sell out at low prices.
This is typical or how both USDA and FDA operate. They always favor large companies (their clients as they see it) over smaller ones and in effect they create monopolies or oligopolies for the giants. And they always pretend it is all about safety.
The agency also legally required the surviving, mostly big, almond growers to commit consumer fraud by labeling their nuts “raw” even though they no longer were raw. And although the nuts were to be “pasteurized,” a word that says “heat” to anyone familiar with it, other methods beside heat were allowed, including use of a truly dangerous chemical (propylene oxide or PPO) banned in Europe and elsewhere and nuking with radiation.
A 20 year old young man we know who had eaten almonds all his life without incident just had a serious allergic reaction from eating them, which made it very hard for him to breathe. The bag was non-organic and therefore probably treated with PPO, which is cheaper than alternatives.
(From Living Nutz)
As you can imagine, most organic almond farmers likely do not have the budget or the desire to invest in this type of equipment leaving their only option being contracting with other businesses that do have this type of equipment. Of course this is unrealistic because the farmers will have to transport their entire harvest from their farm, to the facility where this equipment resides (that could be anywhere in relation to where their almond farms are located) and then back to their farms before they can even prepare their harvest to be sold to their customers. The extra expenses this adds to the production of the almond crops eats a massive potion of the profit (if not all of it), making it a losing option for most producers and that is assuming they have access to this type of equipment, which most don’t.