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Will Nutty Law Result in Almond Capers?

Posted Jun 27, 2007 1:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Mike Braga doesn't ordinarily think of himself as a potential lawbreaker. But the Madera, California, almond farmer will be faced with a legal dilemma as of Sept. 1.

Either he stops selling unpasteurized almonds, except for any customers who might wish to buy organic almonds from a small farm stand, or he violates a new federal regulation that bans the sale of unpasteurized nuts after the end of August, explains AP. Intended to protect consumers in the wake of several salmonella outbreaks attributed to almonds, the regulation bans sales of the unpasteurized nut--a staple of foodies and natural diet fans alike--by U.S. growers.

Braga tells AP he won't break the law, although he worries about the consequences to his business as upscale supermarkets like Trader Joes potentially look to foreign growers to provide the raw almonds many customers want. But others aren't sure how they'll handle what they see as a nutty new federal regulation.

"The almond is the king of the nut world and a main staple for raw foodists," says Karyn Calabrese, a Chicago restaurateur who features raw vegan food that hasn't been heated above 110 degrees. "I haven't even thought out what I'll do because it's just such a mind-blowing situation."

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