In an article titled, "Almond Board pasteurization plan in final comment stage," published today, Cary Blake writes for the Western Farm Press:
After two-years of research and consultation across California’s almond industry, the Almond Board of California’s “action plan” creating a mandatory pasteurization program to eliminate any salmonella bacteria in California almonds is now in the final public comment phase.
The ABC’s voluntarily developed plan would modify the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s grower-initiated almond federal marketing order. Submitted to the USDA, the proposed rule was published in the Dec. 6, 2006 issue of the Federal Register. A 45-day public comment period on the rule ends on Jan. 22. A 60-day public comment period on the information collection associated with the rule ends on Feb. 5.
Hundreds of consumers across the country may have been sickened in early 2004 by salmonella linked to almonds packaged by Paramount Farms in California and sold by Costco warehouses and other stores nationwide. Marler Clark represented over a dozen people who became ill with Salmonella poisoning after eating the Salmonella-contaminated almonds.
The company recalled 13 million pounds of its packaged almonds after health officials reported 25 cases of Salmonella poisoning traced to the product. Health officials believe far more people have fallen ill, but that their illnesses were not linked officially to the almonds. Paramount had not pasteurized its raw almonds, but began using a gas pasteurizing process following the outbreak.