A California farmer has failed to convince a federal appeals court that USDA lacks the authority to order the treatment of almonds with heat or chemicals.
Nick Koretoff has been fighting USDA-mandated treatment of almonds in court since 2008, arguing that the agency exceeded its legal power by effectively prohibiting the sale of raw almonds.
He claims the rule provides an unfair advantage to almond importers, who are allowed to sell the untreated nuts in the U.S.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has upheld an earlier ruling that found USDA has the legal power to prevent salmonella outbreaks by ordering almonds to be fumigated or pasteurized.
The federal appeals court largely based its decision on procedural grounds.
Koretoff didn't object to USDA's authority when the agency was contemplating the proposed rule, and thus couldn't sue over the issue, according to the appellate court.
-- Mateusz Perkowski