Raw Almonds From The Gas Chamber or: A PPO Most Investors Should Avoid

In my previous post highlighting the marketing hype, silliness, and duplicity surrounding Kind bars, I revealed that the skeptical cardiologist would soon begin issuing bags of special stroke-busting  nuts to his patients.
I solicited a catchy name for the sacks.
One reader suggested:

“The Snack” or “Snack?” No one will forget that name.. In the center of a small heart shape on the front of the package will be shown the type of nuts (either written or better as a picture.. )


How about “Pearson’s Health Nuts?” It could refer to both the nuts and the eaters.


“Nuts About Nuts!”
The logo is a kindly cardiologist, in a lab coat, peering over the top of his glasses, with a stethoscope draped around his shoulders.


Call it Pearson’s delight!!! I always keep a bag of nuts mixed with raisins, m&ms, almonds and cashews. Have done this for last 3 years. But some times I over eat them. But better than junk food..hope this is ok

(Raisins and M & Ms are right out! Too much sugar)
I’ve created a poll that I would appreciate your voting on. I can guarantee this will be less controversial than the Presidential election.

Raw Almonds: Straight From Fumigation

While exploring where to obtain the best walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts for these “yet to be named” snacks, I discovered that the vast majority of almonds consumed in the US have been pasteurized by fumigation with an organic chemical called propylene oxide (PPO).
Because of two salmonella outbreaks involving almonds from California, the FDA mandated in 2007 that all California almonds had to be pasteurized either by a steam process or by PPO. Since the PPO process is cheaper, the vast majority of non-organic almonds have been sprayed with PPO. Both PPO sprayed and steamed almonds are marketed as “raw.”
Although I’m not fanatical about choosing organic (with the exception of dairy) I really don’t like the idea of eating things that have been sprayed with PPO.  PPO is primarily used to make polyurethane plastics. The CDC says:

“propylene oxide is a direct-acting carcinogen”
Several online sources state that PPO has been banned in “Canada, Mexico, and the European Union” including this Almond fact sheet from cornucopia.org

Click to access Almond_Fact_Sheet.pdf

but it’s more accurate to say that these countries have not approved PPO fumigation.
Consequently, I’m getting my almonds from nutsinbulk.com. They are selling almonds from Spain, grown organically, and they promise there will be no PPO consumed.
Once my nuts arrive and I get them in appropriate sacks with appropriate labels, I’ll start handing them out to my patients.
If anyone has advice on creating such labels and sacks feel free to comment below.
Amandinely Yours
P.S. Here’s what the CDC says about PPO

Studies in animals have demonstrated that propylene oxide is a direct-acting carcinogen. B6C3F1 mice exposed by inhalation to propylene oxide developed hemangiomas and hemangiosarcomas of the nasal mucosa. F344/N rats exposed to propylene oxide in air developed papillary adenomas of the nasal epithelium. Degeneration of the olfactory epithelium and hyperplasia of the respiratory epithelium were induced in the nasal cavities of Wistar rats exposed to propylene oxide by inhalation. Squamous cell carcinomas of the forestomach developed in rats administered propylene oxide by gavage. Although epidemiologic data are not available from workers exposed to propylene oxide, the findings of cancer and other tumors in both rats and mice treated with propylene oxide meet the criteria established in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Cancer Policy [Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1990.112] for regarding propylene oxide as a potential occupational carcinogen. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health therefore recommends that occupational exposures to propylene oxide be reduced to the lowest feasible concentration.


8 thoughts on “Raw Almonds From The Gas Chamber or: A PPO Most Investors Should Avoid”

  1. As of now, there are eight more ideas in “other”.
    We should see what they are and have final round of voting after this “primary”.
    Maybe there’s a real gem in there.

  2. Spanish almonds are expensive. Another form of almond pasteurization is oil roasted according to the Cornucopia article. Roasting almonds in oil also gives them slightly higher amounts of unsaturated fat and vitamin E, but otherwise, I understand their vitamin and mineral content is the same. So why a necessary need to eat raw almonds?

    • Good point and I considered roasted almonds as an alternative but I think that most roasted almonds have also undergone pasteurization although not necessary. Also, I wanted to reproduce the almonds used in the PREDIMED study. These were Spanish almonds but the info in the NEJM article doesn’t make it clear that they were not roasted.Some advocates of “raw” food as the healthiest food believe that roasting alters the nutritional benefits of almonds but there is little evidence on that. I will have to do some more research as time permits but for now the bags i give out will have raw Spanish almonds.

      • I once heard from a chef in a restaurant in Miami, that all foods that comes from out of state and out of the country is fumigated, organic or not, they do that so in case there is a bug of some sort in the container, that said bug will die and not do something with the ecological system

        • I hadn’t heard that and would be interested if any other readers are aware of that or have a reference.
          dr P

  3. Yikes! One of the perks of using my upgrade coupons is that in first class they give you bags of almonds. I guess that means from now on I’m flying coach.

    • Almonds for first class and peanuts for coach? Interesting.
      On Southwest which I try to fly exclusively I usually get a choice of peanuts, wheat thins or cheese-its. Peanuts to me are clearly the best choice but on my recent flight back from San Francisco they weren’t being proffered. When I asked about their absence I was told there was person on board with a peanut allergy.


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