The growers, most of whom sell organic or raw almonds, said almonds that had undergone chemical or heating treatments were still labeled as "raw," confusing consumers who wanted to buy unprocessed nuts. Raw or organic almonds can fetch 40 percent more in price than conventional almonds.
The appellate judge ruled the growers had waived their claims by failing to raise them during the rulemaking process.
California's almond industry grows 100 percent of the domestic supply. Almonds are California's top commodity and its number one export crop. The industry has seen dramatic growth in recent years, powered by strong demand from India and China.