As I reported here last month, new USDA “safety” rules (effective in September) will require that nearly all raw almonds sold in North America be either steam treated or doused in carcinogenic motorcycle fuel. I first learned the news from the monthly LocalHarvest newsletter; this month’s issue came last night, and it contains some interesting updates on the distasteful almond regulations. Most important, it looks like the nonprofit Cornucopia Institute will offer a ray of hope for cancer-hatin’ fans of the tree nut. As LocalHarvest explains,

The Cornucopia Institute is leading a campaign to convince the USDA to reopen the public comment period on this issue. The previous 45[-day] comment period was not publicized, and resulted in only 18 comments, none of which were submitted by private citizens or consumer advocate organizations.

Hmm, so then the “public” comment period was nothing but a bunch of industry reps sending missives to the USDA. Not surprising, but still totally slimy. CI’s campaign “will be launched late this week or early next,” according to LocalHarvest; check the Cornucopia Action Alerts in a few days to learn how to weigh in.

Meanwhile, at least one small almond farm is taking matters into its own hands, as the blog Local Forage reports. The farm will soon offer customers the opportunity to “rent” trees for the season: That way, it’s not technically a commercial exchange, but just people collecting and eating the raw nuts from “their” trees. In the same way that cow share programs allow raw-milk advocates to legally obtain unpasteurized dairy products, these “tree shares” will let almond eaters keep eating nuts without some pretty unpleasant additives.

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