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California Pistachio Growers Watching Iranian Deal

Dlvya Thakur/ Flickr

Dlvya Thakur/ Flickr

If Congress approves the nuclear arms deal that would lift trade sanctions against Iran, California pistachio growers could face more competition. That's because Iran is the world's number one producer of pistachios. California is number two.

But one food economist says the domestic industry shouldn't worry. Daniel Sumner is with UC Davis.

"I don't see it disrupting anything," said Sumner on Insight with Beth Ruyak. "My sense is that the California industry is now in a position to compete pretty effectively. And they've been going head to head with Iranian pistachios around the world." 

That includes the European and Asian markets.

Sumner says if sanctions are lifted Iran wouldn't be able to ship the cheapest nuts to the United States.

"They'd have to meet the same standards of course that we have here in the United States," said Sumner, "and there's a question about whether they can meet those standards."

Sumner says Iran as had a problem with aflatoxin, a mold found in nut and grain products.

California became a pistachio-producing powerhouse after the U.S. severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980.


Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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