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Almond Board Receives Prestigious Award for Outstanding Contributions to Food Safety

For More Information: Ashley Knoblauch     MODESTO, Calif. — The Almond Board of California (ABC) recently received the GMA Food Safety Award from the International Association for Food Protection, in recognition of the Board’s “preeminence in and contributions to the field of food safety.” The award comes after nearly 50 years of Almond Board-funded research and innovation leading to numerous improvements in the way almonds are harvested and handled to ensure safety. “This award is the culmination of many years and countless hours of work by ABC staff, researchers, and industry leaders to elevate California almonds to an honored, best of class, position in the field of food safety,” said Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board. “While much of this work often goes on out of the view of the public eye, this recognition will shed some much-deserved light on the work of the dedicated team of food safety professionals at the Almond Board and our colleagues in the industry.” ABC’s submission for the award detailed nearly five decades of research and advancements in food safety funded by the almond industry through the Almond Board. “ABC is honored to be the recipient of the 2019 GMA Food Safety Award in recognition of our long-term commitment to food safety, and we are truly humbled to be included in the long line of extremely worthy past recipients,” said Tim Birmingham, ABC director of Quality Assurance and Industry Services. “Food safety is a cornerstone of what we do.  Since the early 2000s, ABC has been focused on producing the highest quality, safest crop possible through research, food safety programs and industry-wide education. We will continue to look for ways to improve, and share what we know, to help ensure the integrity of tree nuts and low moisture foods in general to protect consumers around the world.” The most recent advances in almond safety began in 2007 with the establishment of the mandatory pasteurization program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service. Since the implementation of the self-imposed pasteurization program there have been no reported foodborne illnesses related to almond consumption. “The credit for this award really belongs to the almond growers and handlers who invested their hard earned dollars in the research and the ABC Board of Directors’ willingness to make difficult decisions that put the good of the industry ahead of individual concerns,” said Birmingham. “But while the award is nice recognition, the real payoff is in the foodborne illnesses that have been prevented by the collective efforts of the industry, demonstrating our commitment to food safety from the orchard to the consumer.” The GMA Food Safety Award is sponsored by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and was presented July 24 at IAFP 2019 in Louisville, Ky. 
GMA Award
News Article
// Quality and Food Safety

Finding a Greater Use of Almond Byproducts

Almonds are having their moment right now. Between the hotly debated almond milk and almond butter or flour products, there is a lot of buzz around the super food. It is deserving of the attention, as the commodity is a power house when it comes to health benefits. They are almost exclusive to California, since the state is the only commercial producer in North America (and the United States is the top producer in the world). With the ever-changing preferences of consumers to be less wasteful, and so many almonds being grown, is there any waste that these tree nuts create? Almonds are technically a stone fruit (closely related to peaches and nectarines), which means that the “almond” is the kernel inside of a shell inside of a hull. So, when you’re eating an almond, it’s been removed from two other layers prior. During the shelling process extra pieces of the almond may fall off as well and will be discarded. This is referred to as “hash.” These aforementioned layers and bits of almonds could be considered waste in the food world. However, with research from the USDA’s Western Regional Research Center, the shells and hulls, and even entire trees are being put to a greater use as byproducts. The Western Regional Research Center in California has been researching alternative uses for almond c0-products for many years, and what the industry has been able to do with this fruit is an amazing display of the agriculture industry’s commitment to ending food waste. Most of an almond’s byproducts are used for other sectors of agriculture. In the poultry and dairy industries, almond hulls (the green outermost layer) are a huge source of feedstuffs due to their high nutrient content and ability to keep feed costs down for producers. Did you know, though, that research is being done to feed hulls to black soldier fly larvae? These insects can then be fed to poultry and fish that are being farmed for human consumption. A few reasons why this is being researched is because the insect is attracted to this clean source of feed and using this feedstock is geographically more advantageous to California as well as more efficient when it comes to producing insect protein versus soy protein. A presentation was done on this topic during the 2018 Almond Conference and dives a bit more into the scientific side of things. Shells and hash are implemented in other ways. Shells are what protect the almond kernel, and hash, as mentioned before, is remnants of the fruit that have fallen off during shelling. If you’re looking for garden bedding or landscape materials, shells might be your go-to; they also happen to be used as livestock bedding. Hash can be used for higher-end animal feed, according to one of California’s most beloved almond advocates, Almond Girl Jenny. There are many other ways the co-products of an almond kernel are used, like grinding up old almond trees and shells to use for “co-generation” plants to produce electricity. A new approach being encouraged by the Almond Board is Whole Orchard Recycling. This just means that the remnants of the old trees are tilled back into the soil where new trees will be planted to improve soil health. Other possible items that can be replaced with almond co-products, like food grade sugars, plastics, and even baby diaper absorbent, are also being researched by The Almond Board of California. It’s important to note that a lot of research is still needing to be done in order to understand the full effects of co-product use, but the industry is hopeful and studies haven’t disappointed yet. Technology, the environment, consumer preferences, and market prices are just some of the reasons behind the need to limit food waste and find more value in the products being grown. While almond products are trending right now, it’s apparent that the industry is working hard to make them a staple in our lives and it appears they aren’t losing momentum any time soon.
In The News
// About the Almond Industry

USDA Forecasts California Almond Crop Down 3.5 Percent

USDA Forecasts California Almond Crop Down 3.5 Percent MODESTO, Calif. – The California Almond Objective Measurement Report, published today by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service - Pacific Regional Office (NASS/PRO), estimates that the 2019 crop will be 2.20 billion pounds, down 3.5% from the 2018 crop production of 2.28 billion pounds. The California Almond Objective Measurement Report is the official industry crop estimate. This year’s Objective Report projects an almond crop down 12% from the May 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast of 2.5 billion pounds. The Objective Report collects data later in the growing season, closer to harvest, and is based on an actual count of nuts on the trees versus phone interviews with farmers, the method used for the Subjective Forecast. According to the Objective Report, the average nut set per tree is 4,667, down 17.8% from the 2018 almond crop. The Nonpareil average nut set per tree is 4,429, down 10.1% from last year’s set. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.54 grams, unchanged from the 2018 average weight. “While the industry experienced less than ideal weather conditions this spring, California remains the best place in the world to grow almonds,” said Holly A. King, Kern County almond farmer and Chair of the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors. “As leaders in California agriculture and producers of 82 percent of the world’s almonds, we have made a public commitment to grow almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, protecting our communities and the environment. We feel a great sense of obligation to responsibly produce a healthy food accessible to people around the world.” Last year, the Almond Board of California’s Board of Directors announced the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals to focus on areas that define the California almond industry’s journey towards continuous improvement and commitment to sustainability. The amount of almond coproducts – hulls, shells and woody biomass – correlates with crop size, and the California almond industry is more committed than ever to finding new uses for these valuable products. In fact, achieving zero waste in California almond orchards by putting everything the industry grows to optimal use is one of the four goals established by the Board of Directors. The Almond Board is committed to finding high-value uses for almond coproducts that support California by creating a genuine bioeconomy where every coproduct is an input for another valuable product. ABC will continue to fund research to investigate how components of almond hulls and shells can be transformed to provide increased value for farmers as well as other industries such as food, pharmaceuticals and automotive. “California almond farmers produce the vast majority of the world’s almonds, and for every pound of kernels there are nearly three pounds of hulls and shells. With size comes great responsibility and the resources to continue to meet steadily growing demand for almonds and fund research into ways to grow almonds more sustainably,” said Richard Waycott, ABC president and CEO. “Our vision is to make life better by what we grow and how we grow.” Since 1973, almond farmers and processors have invested $80 million in research through the Almond Board. These funds have propelled the industry to make significant advancements in the areas of water, nutrient management, air quality, honey bee health and more, increasing farming efficiencies while minimizing environmental impacts.  
almonds in farmers hands
News Article
// About the Almond Industry
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