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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Judge Rules US Almonds Must be Pasteurized

I talked to San Francisco Chronicle reporter George Raine (who has been covering food business litigation since at least the Odwalla E. coli outbreak in 1996 when I first met him), about the perceived “setback for organic almond growers and handlers in California’s Central Valley, [when] a federal judge this week dismissed a lawsuit protesting the requirement that almonds sold on the domestic market be pasteurized.”

As I said:

Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer who for 15 years has represented plaintiffs in major food safety cases, including the 2004 salmonella cases that were traced to almonds, said Thursday that pasteurization is necessary.

"I can understand from dealing with the raw juice and raw milk and raw food people that they are very adamant that their products are better than pasteurized products. But in this instance, the evidence is very clear that this is the type of product that needs to be pasteurized," he said.

  • Bix

    Maybe we’ve reached a point in food production, for some foods, where the benefits of not pasteurizing are overwhelmed by the costs.

  • JC Bennett

    I love your blog and I respect your work! However, isn’t the blanket support for pasteurization of almonds a bit disingenuous on your part? Almonds on the tree don’t host salmonella. It’s the handling that’s the problem. I mean Peanut Corporation of America was roasting their peanuts (surely that heat counts as pasteurization) and it didn’t stop them from adding salmonella to them and poisoning uncounted numbers of people. The Almond Growers want the raw ones pasteurized because they don’t want to compete with the raw foodies. Meanwhile, who’s checking the sanitation of their plants? The “highly competent” food inspectors from Georgia who finally lost their gig at PCA because they didn’t do their job?