Hail Merry Raw Food Label Update
Most RAW nuts and seeds grown in the United States have in fact been put through a bacterial kill step with a bath of 160 degrees F. Hail Merry leads the way for truth in raw food labeling standards. Raw food is fresh, whole food that has not been refined, chemically processed, denatured, or heated above 118 degrees F. Hail Merry is undergoing a label conversion and we want to explain why. We are on a path to migrate away from the raw foods lifestyle definition of raw and into a more technical definition of raw. In order to migrate into the technical definition of RAW we are moving to RAW OILS rather than RAW and here is why...
First let us explain the overall landscape of "Artisanal" Raw Foods.
Hail Merry's owners have been in the food industry for over 30 years, using good practices in food safety and supply management. We have vetted the raw ingredients used by our industry. Most ingredients believed to be raw and that have been used in the raw food lifestyle for years have in fact been put through a bacterial kill step with a bath of 160 degrees F. These ingredients include: shredded coconut, all USA nuts & seeds, nut flours, dried fruits and spices.
The only raw food snacks that can truly claim raw status are the dehydrated produce companies like raw kale chips (although these companies also use raw food lifestyle ingredients that are not technically raw in their recipes, such as seeds and spices). Raw Granolas, crackers & macaroons, even though they are low temp dehydrated, are really not technically raw since they have been put through the bacterial kill step (which is a good thing by the way) resulting in no active enzymes present. However the omegas in these ingredients are still raw! The bath that a raw nut undergoes still leaves the interior of the nut well below its flash point and considered to be raw and much healthier to consume than if that nut were heated to temperatures reached in baking or roasting. In our attempt to bring transparency to our labeling we had added the asterisks next to these non-raw ingredients. Others in the industry have not.
It just really depends on how each artisan defines raw, whether by the lifestyle (which includes these non-raw ingredients) or by the amount of active enzymes present. In our label migration path at Hail Merry we have decided to move past the lifestyle definition into the more technical definition with regards to living enzymes.
Truth in labeling is actually extremely important to us and we will take a leadership role in bringing forth these facts. The FDA will expect this action from us as well as our neighbors in raw. That day will come very soon.
As for maple syrup, it again is one of those raw food lifestyle ingredients and one that we see frequently used by other raw food snack companies, again without the use of an asterisk like we have added. Maple syrup is boiled during production but is still rich in minerals.
With all this said, raw foods are very much "artisanal" during these formative years. There are even highly regarded raw food companies using non-official raw symbols containing grains and animal proteins, such as whey and oats. This is the most liberal expression of artisanal raw foods we have seen in the market place.
We will also be adding LOW TEMP DEHYDRATION to our packaging. LTD is after all what we do as raw foodists, we dehydrate - all with the well-intentioned desire to not fully oxidize and denature these healthy nutrient dense ingredients and omegas with high heat from baking.
We hope this clarifies the progress being made in our raw food category and at Hail Merry.
Founder, Hail Merry