FRESNO, Calif. - An appeals court has ruled that federal officials had the authority to require that all California almonds be treated following two salmonella outbreaks linked to almonds from the state.
Friday's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District Court of Columbia upheld a lower court decision.
The case stemmed from a 2007 order by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that all California almonds sold domestically be pasteurized with heat or chemicals.
A group of California almond growers argued that Vilsack lacked authority to require that all almonds be treated irrespective of whether they were contaminated.
The growers said almonds that had undergone treatments were still labeled "raw", confusing consumers who wanted to buy unprocessed nuts.
California's almond industry grows 100 percent of the domestic supply.