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Don’t Let Them Cut Off Our Nuts!

Young Almonds

[social_buttons]Help Overturn the Mandated “Pasteurization” of Raw Almonds

Almond Growers Sue USDA Over Compulsory Almond Treatment

Your support is needed to win the lawsuit brought by domestic almond growers against the USDA.

The Cornucopia Institute has been fighting to protect access to truly raw American almonds. When the USDA announced their intention to gas almonds with a toxic fumigant or steam-heat the raw nuts – and still call them raw – Cornucopia began working with almond farmers, consumers and retailers to block this misguided food safety measure.

This work has now led to a lawsuit challenging the raw almond treatment mandate. They need your help and support to cover the cost of this lawsuit!

Going to court was not their first choice.  Cornucopia initially offered a compromise plan to the USDA that would have protected family farmers growing raw almonds for consumers and the consumer’s right to choose unadulterated food in the marketplace.  That plan was rejected earlier this year by the USDA.

Now they are seeking legal relief and justice.   On September 9, that lawsuit was filed in the Washington, D.C. federal court.  Cornucopia’s team of legal advisors has been carefully investigating the grounds for overturning the almond treatment mandate.

Under federal law, only farmers and almond nut handlers have “legal standing” to sue the USDA on this matter.  Fifteen almond farmers and handlers have stepped forward to file this suit. These individuals have been watching their farming and business operations disintegrate under the dictates and prohibitions of the treatment mandate.  And they are not alone.  Cornucopia has talked with other almond farmers and handlers suffering in similar ways.

One farmer and lawsuit participant said:  “The entire natural raw almonds segment of our industry has been put out of business with one swipe of the pen by the Almond Board …. it is a financial disaster (for farmers), and it is a disaster for the consumers that are now denied, for no good reason, a healthy whole natural raw food that they have eaten with confidence and enjoyment and benefit for decades.”

Legal battles are a pricey proposition.  Justice is not cheap.  The Cornucopia Institute has assured the almond farmer and handler plaintiffs that they will raise the money to pay for the costs of winning this battle.  This is a battle that can be won.  Their legal team has crafted a strong case, one that exposes the USDA’s lack of authority to invoke the treatment rule and their bungling of how it was mandated.

An alternative to this new rule would be to allow for and clearly label unpasteurized almonds—  effectively warning consumers of potential risk for food contamination while at the same time protecting consumer choice. Another alternative is to exempt small-scale and organic almond growers and handlers—since
they have never been a document source of Salmonella or other contamination.

Won’t you please help to win this fight?

Most of The Cornucopia Institute’s members are farmers.  They are standing with our almond farmer friends.  Please stand together with them and help to support this fight.

Send a letter to your elected federal officials:

I believe that uncooked foods, or “living foods,” offer substantial health benefits. I am outraged by the fact that I am not able to purchase truly raw almonds from American farmers.

I am very concerned that my almonds are being treated with a toxic fumigant or unnecessary heat treatment.  Please use whatever influence you have to stop this unneeded activity.

Find full instructions for contacting your representatives and a sample letter for email or snail mail on Cornucopia Institute’s site. Call or write your local food retailer and ask that they support this effort. Read the Almond Fact Sheet which lays out the case against mandatory pasteurization of domestic almonds.

You can make a secure, tax-deductible donation online at www.cornucopia.org.  Please note in the message box that it is for the Almond Lawsuit.  Or, if you prefer, mail your donation to The Cornucopia Institute, PO Box 126, Cornucopia, WI  54827.

Save Raw Almonds

Wear your opinion with Cornucopia Institute’s “Don’t Cut Off Our Nuts” t-shirts, canvas bags, buttons and bumper stickers!

Related posts about food labeling and safety:

Images: Almonds from ReefRaff on Flickr under Creative Commons, Save Raw Almonds from Cornucopia Institute.

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