We have goods news on the FSMA front. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has initiated the regulatory process to put almonds on the “rarely consumed raw” list. After years of discussions with the Almond Alliance and the Almond Board of California as to why almonds should be on the “rarely consumed raw” list given the self-imposed pasteurization rule, FDA moved to make this a reality.
The California almond industry is a leader in food safety and through education and FDAs understanding on industry practices and requirements, we have worked together to prevent unnecessary regulation for our industry.
The Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino said the FDA action, “This is significant for the California almond industry. The leadership at FDA has accepted the information and evidence that almonds are in fact rarely consumed raw. The industry went through an exhaustive process many years ago to get its pasteurization rule approved. We are pleased the FDA listened to the science and evidence that we presented and took the appropriate action in placing almonds on the rarely consumed raw list.”
In 2015, FDA created the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA consists of seven regulations and one of which applies to almond growers, the Produce Safety Rule. The “Produce Safety Rule,” provides standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. Since 2015, the Almond Alliance has been advocating on behalf of the California almond industry, explaining the pasteurization rule and why California almonds should be included on the “rarely consumed raw” list.
Trevino thanked the Almond Board of California for its work in providing scientific research in support of the FDA’s action to place almonds on the “rarely consumed raw” list, singling out Tim Birmingham Director of Quality Assurance and Industry Services for the Almond Board, for his work.
The Produce Safety Rule establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. The rule does not apply to produce that is considered to be rarely consumed raw (RCR), grown for personal or on-farm consumption, or not a raw agricultural commodity. Commodities considered to be RCR are those that the FDA has determined are typically cooked before consumption. Almond Alliance will continue to educate and encourage safe food and growing practices.
About the Almond Alliance of California
The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) was formerly the Almond Hullers and Processors Association and is a trusted non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Almond industry in California. AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handers and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences and meetings, AAC serves as a clearing house of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.