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As consumer demand for organic products continues to grow year after year, food manufacturers need more reliable sources of organic ingredients. Responding to this demand, C.J. Dannemiller Co. launched a selection of bulk organic nuts and seeds which can be sold by retailers or used in finished foods such as granola and nut butters.
Other nut varieties, like natural nuts or raw nuts can be mistaken as organic. But organic, natural and raw distinctions have key differences.
Organic nuts. The organic food label in the United States has some regulatory muscle behind it. According to the USDA, organic foods are grown and processed following federal guidelines that consider animal-rearing practices, soil quality, weed and pest control, the use of additives, and other factors. Products can only feature the label organic if they are certified to have grown in soil that has seen no prohibited substances, including synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, for three years before the organic food is harvested. Bulk organic nuts can be combined with other organically grown products like fruits, sugar cane, and oils and still be considered organic. If a grower is compelled to employ a synthetic substance, it must be approved based on its impact on the environment and human health.
Raw nuts. Unlike other nuts, which are oil roasted or dry-roasted or undergo other types of processing, raw nuts are not prepared or cooked at all. Despite the healthier aspects of raw nuts, many consumers prefer cooked or prepared nuts for the flavor. Some raw nuts may undergo pasteurization to eliminate toxic elements. For example, raw almonds and cashews are heat pasteurized, the former to eliminate salmonella and the latter to remove any vestiges of its toxic shell. This rapid heating process is at temperatures below the heat levels used for roasting.
Natural nuts. The United States does not have consistent definitions and regulations regarding what constitutes natural or all-natural foods, leading to quite a bit of confusion. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both regulate food labels in America. The FDA has no guidelines for natural but does somewhat regulate the term all-natural, while the USDA defines natural as having no artificial ingredients or added colors and being minimally processed.