Does Alta Dena sell unpasteurized sour cream?
February 7, 2016 11:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm very pregnant and accidentally ate Alta Dena sour cream that has absolutely no indication of whether or not it is pasteurized on the packaging. Google is not giving me a definite answer. I live in CA and I think it is legal to sell unpasteurized items here. Can you help me figure this out?
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
I only saw one sour cream product listed on the company's site, with nothing saying it was unpasteurized.

Given the fact that most dairy products sold are pasteurized, combined with this tidbit on CA laws about warnings for raw milk, I think your sour cream was safe to eat.
posted by moira at 11:52 PM on February 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Sorry, they do also have a fat free sour cream. Ingredients say it is pasteurized.
posted by moira at 11:56 PM on February 7, 2016

A bit more info from the California Department of Public Health.

In California, although the sale of raw milk and raw dairy products is legal, all such products are required to include this warning on their labels:

"WARNING: Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk dairy products may contain disease-causing microorganisms. Persons at highest risk of disease from these organisms include newborns and infants; the elderly; pregnant women; those taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antacids; and those having chronic illnesses or other conditions that weaken their immunity."

posted by kjs4 at 11:58 PM on February 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

Could you contact them and say you're into raw foods and ask if they sell anything that is unpasteurized?

It seems they changed the labeling on the sour cream -- one label I see says it uses pasteurized cream and other ingredients and then a much briefer label that seems to be their current once says just cream. I suspect maybe to make it simpler and more natural-sounding, they only included what was exactly required, which meant dropping "pasteurized" and other minor ingredients from it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:12 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

All dairy products are pasteurized unless otherwise stated.

I suppose it's possible you could get slipped some dodgy product from a dealer on the mean fields of artisanal cattle gangs, but you can easily avoid that by just buying your dairy products from a store.
posted by tel3path at 2:05 AM on February 8, 2016 [19 favorites]

Alta Dena is a huge producer, not a little outfit making specialty goods. No. "Alta Dena’s new owners at that point stopped selling raw milk, and Stueve’s Natural raw milk has not been available since May 1999." via

(Their site blithers on briefly about how great dairy is for pregnant women.)
posted by kmennie at 4:21 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

This is absolutely pasteurized. You'll probably sleep better (if you can!) if you Facebook with them about it though. Or just call! 800-535-1369.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:14 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

All the dairy products you can buy at your standard large California supermarkets are pasteurized, don't worry about it. You're fine. You'd have to go way out of your way to find unpasteurized dairy products.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Unpasteurized sour cream is also practically a different product than the typical sour cream, because of the naturally occurring cultures in unpasteurized milk. In fact, I'm not even sure how a company could make it for large distribution. I live in an area where 'boutique' dairy products are common and have never, ever seen unpasteurized sour cream. It is always pasteurized in the process of adding the sour cream cultures. Nthing that you are fine.
posted by epanalepsis at 12:55 PM on February 8, 2016

Raw dairy is legal in California, but must have a warning on the package. Given that the package didn't specifically say unpasteurized and have a warning, it was pasteurized.

I suppose there's a chance that a small, local company would not be aware of / not comply with the warning rules, but given that Alta Dena is a large company fully owned by an even larger, publicly traded company, and in an industry where regular inspections are required, I'm confident that it was pasteurized.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:31 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I Facebooked Alta Dena- they confirmed it is pasteurized.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:45 AM on February 9, 2016

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