How are whole grains for home milling treated for granary pests?
How are whole grains for home milling treated for granary pests? And what implications does this have for the home baker?
Here's what my internet research tells me:
Mills used to use Methyl Bromide, a carcinogen, to fumigate flours. Now, they seem to use a combination of Sulfuryl Fluoride and heat. I don't know if mills use these processes on just flours or also on unmilled grains. An alternative organic method seems to be to spray the grains with diatmaceous earth, a ground up prehistoric arthropod shell derived from the sea that kills insects mechanically. This method is considered very safe in the gardening community, though it becomes ineffective when wet, and is basically just a form of calcium.
If granaries use heat treatment on flour, what are the implications on whole grain nutrition? Of what importance are the enzymes that will surely be killed by 140 degree F heat treatment? (sometimes mills use a lower temperature, but I saw this temperature in industry literature as the "high end") Surely we're going to kill off the enzymes anyway when baking. I know living enzymes can cut fermentation in half (not always a good thing), so there's at least some impact. Do the enzymes also help free up nutrients during the ferment?
I am not a fresh ground zealot, but I do see strong evidence that whole grains, store bought or ground at home, are more nutritious, and pesticide residues in flour may be another reason for grinding your own. I just don't understand what's used to control pests in organic grains, or what benefits/complications these treatments might have for home bakers.
Joshua in Seattle