Why We Use Steam Pasteurization at Maisie Jane’s

Posted on : March 5th, 2020

Dry Roasted Almonds

To be perfectly honest, we’d prefer not to pasteurize our almonds at all! But in 2003-2004 there were salmonella outbreaks traced back to a few conventional California almond growers. California produces 80% of the world’s almonds so the idea of global outbreaks originating in California was pretty scary stuff. As a precaution, in 2007 the USDA began requiring that all California grown almonds and any almonds sold as “raw” in the United States commercially must be pasteurized. And certainly, offering a product that is pathogen-free is a high priority for us at Maisie Jane’s as well. So we researched the safest ways to pasteurize and still provide a tasty, high quality product.

There are two common almond pasteurization methods.

  • One is the ‘washing’ of almonds with steam.
  • The other is fumigation of the almonds with Propylene Oxide gas (PPO).

Most commercially available conventional almonds are pasteurized using PPO fumigation while steam is used by organic farmers. We offer both conventional and organic products but, blech, does fumigation sound like a great thing to you? Maisie Jane’s uses the steam method on ALL our almonds whether organic or conventional. We use industrial equipment to steam heat almonds up to 200 degrees to make them safe for you to eat without using chemicals.

Dry Roasting

We also dry roast all our nuts. This is also a method that could meet the USDA requirements – if production is monitored and documented in accordance with industry standards. We use dry roasting in addition to the steam process for health and FLAVOR. Any Maisie Jane’s Almonds you purchase lack the added oils often found in other roasted nuts and allows us to offer a healthier, more delicious nut!

So are pasteurized almonds “raw”?

Interestingly, the FDA believes the “essential characteristics” of almonds are unchanged by pasteurization (either by steam or PPO). That means that almonds which have been pasteurized can still be considered “raw”. We recognize that this can be a concern to some consumers who do not consider pasteurized almonds to be truly raw so we don’t advertise them that way. We use the label “natural” for our conventional almonds and “organic” for organic. But we do want you to know that steam pasteurized almonds can still sprout and are, therefore, considered “raw” by most individuals.

Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family-owned and operated orchards. We use organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.