Specifications for Cashew Kernels
AFI Nut & Agricultural Products Section
I. General Requirements
A. Each shipment to the U.S. shall be of good quality and be stored in accordance with good commercial practice. No live infestation is permitted.
B. The cashews shall be packed in new, clean, dry, leak-proof, lead-free containers with an airtight (hermetic) seal and without internal paper liners. Packaging shall be of sufficient strength to assure the integrity of the product during normal shipment and storage.
The outer container shall be constructed of a new cardboard, free of infestation and visual mold and sealed without staples, unless otherwise specified by the end user. Cartons must be a minimum of 200-pound test, 32 ECT. Only food-grade CO2 is permitted.
C. Only pesticides approved for use on cashews may be used and residues must be within the tolerances set by the government of the importing country. No detectable residue is permitted for any pesticide that is not approved for use on cashews in the importing country. In the United States, the only pesticides approved for use on cashews and the residue limits for those pesticides are as follows: Flutriafol – .02 ppm; Phosphine – .1 ppm. Fumigation with/use of methyl bromide and Naphthalene are prohibited.
D. All cartons shall be clearly marked with the following:
1. Name of the product and trade name or brand name, if any.
2. Name and address of producer or packer.
4. Net weight.
5. Country of Origin.
6. Buyer’s name or marks.
8. Other marks agreed to by buyer and seller.
Lot numbers or production codes must be marked legibly on the outside of the cartons, in accordance with the laws of the country of destination.
E. Bill of Lading must list the number of cartons, source of origin, and the marks that are on the cartons.
F. All shipments shall be inspected prior to loading and shall be carried on conveyances suitable for transporting food products in good condition, i.e. free of odors, insect or mold damage, rodent activity, and all other foreign materials.
G. The moisture level of the cashews shall be 3%-5%, as determined by the AOAC reference method.
H. If a roast test is required in a contract, it should be conducted in accordance with Appendix II. (Scrapes)
I. Strong blocking is not permitted. Strong blocking is defined as blocking which cannot be freed other than with the use of external tools.
J. Cashew kernels shall be free of hard or sharp foreign objects and hair.
II. Quality and Grading
Cashew kernels are classified as: First Quality Fancy; Second Quality Scorched; Lightly Blemished Wholes (LBW), Blemished Wholes (BW), Third Quality Special Scorched; Fourth Quality; and Dessert.
FIRST QUALITY FANCY cashew kernels have a uniform color which may be white, light yellow or pale ivory.
SECOND QUALITY SCORCHED cashew kernels may be yellow, light brown, light ivory, light ash-grey or deep ivory.
THIRD QUALITY SPECIAL SCORCHED cashew kernels may be deep yellow, brown, amber, and light to deep blue. They may be slightly shriveled, immature, light-brown speckled, blemished or otherwise discolored.
FOURTH QUALITY cashew kernels would qualify as First or Second Quality, except that they have pitted spots.
Lightly Blemished Wholes (LBW) cashew kernels may be light brown, light ivory, light ash-grey or deep ivory. Kernels may show light brown speckles or blemishes on the surface, provided that not more than 40 percent of the kernels are affected.
Lightly Blemished Pieces (LP) cashew pieces may be light brown, light ivory, light ash-grey or deep ivory. Pieces may show light brown speckles or blemishes on the surface, provided that not more than 20 percent of the pieces are affected.
Blemished Wholes (BW) cashew kernels may be deep yellow, brown, amber or light to deep blue. Kernels may be slightly shriveled, immature or may be brown speckled or blemished on the surface, provided that not more than 60 percent of the kernels are affected.
DESSERT cashew kernels may be scraped, deeply scorched, shriveled, deep-brown-speckled, black-speckled, blemished or otherwise discolored.
Sizing is compulsory in first quality/fancy cashew kernels but is optional for other whole grades.
Size Tolerance: Whole kernels of a lower size grade shall not exceed 10% by weight.
The quantity of broken kernels or pieces in whole kernels shall not exceed 10% by weight.
The quantity of pieces present in butts and splits shall not exceed 10% by weight.
The quantity of the next lower size grade in pieces shall not exceed 5% by weight.
A cashew kernel is classified as whole if it has the characteristic shape of a cashew kernel and not more than 1/8th of the kernel has been broken off. This grade may also be designated as W. An excessive number 7/8th kernels or splits that detract from the appearance of the sampled lot may be the basis for claim.
Kernels which have been broken crosswise, are less than 7/8 but not less than 3/8 of a whole kernel and the cotyledons are still naturally attached. This grade may also be designated as B.
One half of a cashew kernel that has been split lengthwise, provided not more than 1/8 of this cotyledon has been broken off. This grade may also be designated as S.
Pieces – See Table 2
SERIOUS DAMAGE includes but is not limited to insect, rodent or bird damage, visible mold – rancidity – decay or adhering dirt – solder – shell – or mesocarp. Examples include:
ADHERING MATTER – cashew meal or extraneous matter on the surface of the kernel causing permanent discoloration.
INSECT DAMAGE – is visible damage to the kernel from live or dead insects, mites in any stage of development, insect excreta or fragments – frass – webbing – boring – powdery residue – cast larval casings and/or the evidence of insects or insect activity in the packaging.
RODENT DAMAGE – evidence of rodent activity.
BIRD DAMAGE – pieces of feather, bird excreta.
VISIBLE MOLD – mold filaments detectable with the naked eye.
RANCIDITY – is a breakdown of the oils in the kernel giving it an off-flavor or odor. An off-flavor aroma is any atypical flavor or aroma, including those caused by rancidity, decomposition, fermentation, microbial activity, infestation or chemical taint.
FOREIGN MATTER – includes but is not limited to shell, mesocarp, stones, dirt, glass, metal, solder, straw, twigs, sticks, plastic, hair, industrial fibers, paper and threads.
DEFECTS include superficial and intrinsic damage which adversely affects the appearance of the lot such as scorching, blemishes, discoloration, immature or shriveled kernels, kernels with pitted black or brown spots, adhering testa, scrapes, flux marks and speckles. Defects vary by grade. The presence of kernels of a lower grade is scored as a defect.
Examples of defects include:
SCORCHING – a discoloration due to over heating during shelling or blanching.
BLEMISHES OR DISCOLORATION – spots in aggregate in excess of 3 mm on the kernels from causes other than shelling or blanching.
IMMATURE – kernels are underdeveloped and do not have the characteristic shape of a cashew kernel.
SLIGHTLY SHRIVELED – a slight withering of the outer surface of the kernel.
SCRAPED – damage to the outer surface of the kernel by knife scratches affecting an aggregate area >5mm. Scrapes on the inside of the natural curve of the kernel are not counted as scrapes.
SHRIVELED – a complete withering of the kernel that distorts its characteristic shape.
PITTED SPOTS – black, brown, or other colored spots in aggregate in excess of 1 mm caused by pre-harvest attack on the kernel.
ADHERING TESTA – Testa is the natural integument of the cashew seed. Kernels are scored as affected by adhering testa when a surface area greater than 2mm in aggregate is affected; provided, that not more than 1/16 of the surface of a whole or equivalent, or 1/8 of a split or butt, in aggregate, are damaged by adhering testa; in which case, the affected kernels shall be scored as “seriously damaged” by adhering testa.”
SUPERFICIAL DAMAGE – deep knife cuts on the surface of the kernel that change the characteristic shape of the nut.
FLUX MARKS – black or brown marks on the surface of the kernels caused by flux dripping onto them when a tin container is sealed.
SPECKLED – a brown stain which appears after removal of the testa on some kernels.
SPOTTING AFTER ROASTING – Brown spots on the surface of the kernel that are not apparent when the kernels are raw but when the kernels are roasted.
SCRAPES AFTER ROASTING – Damage to the surface of the kernel when testa and other defects are removed by the use of a knife. The scraped areas are lighter after roasting and give an uneven appearance to the roast.
BLOCKING – Bonding of cashew kernels in the presence of high moisture and high vacuum pressure.
SEE MORE: APPENDIX OF AFI STANDARDS