Consumers around the world enjoy a consistently high-quality product in California Almonds. The industry’s quality control programs have played a key role in helping almonds to become a “Nut of Choice.” Consumers expect safe food, and this section will provide tips and resources to help maintain and exceed those consumer expectations.

PASTEURIZATION

PASTEURIZATION

The health and safety of consumers is the No. 1 priority of the California Almond industry. The Almond Board of California, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and food safety experts, has established an industry-wide food safety program. Food safety practices begin in the orchard and continue through almond storage, transportation and processing. Pasteurization is the final step before shipping California Almonds to customers.

The Processes

There are several pasteurization treatment processes that reduce the level of potential contamination in almonds without diminishing the product?s quality, nutritional value or sensory qualities (taste and crunch). They have all been evaluated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with a technical review panel.

Oil roasting, dry roasting and blanching. These traditional processes have been shown to provide the required reduction in the level of potential contamination.

Steam processing. A short burst of steam treats the surface of the nutmeat only. This process meets USDA National Organic Program standards, and does not diminish the nutritional value and sensory attributes of almonds.

Propylene oxide (PPO). This is a surface treatment that rapidly dissipates after treatment. It is very effective at reducing potential contamination, and does not alter the nutritional and sensory characteristics of almonds.


Validation Guidelines

Considerations for Proprietary Processes for Almond Pasteurization and Treatment, v1.0, April 13, 2007

Guidelines for Using Enterococcus faecium NRRL B-2354 as a Surrogate Microorganism in Almond Process Validation

Guidelines for Validation of Blanching Processes, v1.0, April 13, 2007  

Guidelines for Validation of Dry Roasting Processes, v1.2, October 23, 2007  

Guidelines for Validation of Oil Roasting Processes, v1.0, April 13, 2007 

Guidelines for Validation of Propylene Oxide Pasteurization, v3.0, October 1, 2008

Guidelines for Validation of Propylene Oxide Treatment for In-shell Almonds, v2.0, October 1, 2008