Because of the recent weather-related problems in California, all almonds are in slim supply. The situation is even worse for raw almonds. These are the nuts generally used in biscotti, almond croissants, and other confections, and eaten by consumers who prefer their nuts plain.
Trader Joe’s, which does a brisk trade in nuts, was particularly hard hit by a salmonella-related recall. The California-based chain had been selling raw Paramount nuts. Now it offers pasteurized almonds. Pasteurized almonds look like the raw variety, and they even taste the same.
Since August, the Almond Board of California and the US Food and Drug Administration have recommended that most shipments of raw almonds in this country be subject to the same treatment, though the FDA has not banned the raw product. As a result, it has been increasingly difficult to find raw almonds in stores.
Whole Foods will continue to sell raw almonds "because it is a product demanded by our customers and there is nothing inherently unsafe about raw almonds," according to Whole Foods spokesperson Amy Hopfensperger. She adds, "We completed thorough monitoring of our suppliers to ensure we receive the highest quality nuts that have been harvested and stored properly before they reach our shelves."