AFI specifications for Cashew Kernels | AFI Nut & Agricultural Standard | Cashew Kernel
Besides being a trade association, AFI is also responsible for developing standards for products in the food industry. They do this by developing schedules for companies to follow and by guiding companies to follow legal requirements. They are also responsible for fostering international trade in food products. AFI members have over 1,000 member companies that trade in a wide variety of products. AFI is not to be confused with the FDA Standards of Identity, which appear in the Code of Federal Regulations.
What is AFI Nut and Agricultural Standard?
AFI is a trade association that represents the U.S. food import industry and supports free trade. They develop schedules for companies to follow and help guide companies to comply with federal laws. They also support free trade and are responsible for fostering international trade in food products. The Association of Food Industries is located in Neptune, N.J., and is a member of the North American Olive Oil Association and the National Honey Packers and Dealers Association.
The Nut and Agricultural Products Section of AFI has developed standards for four products: cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts. These standards were developed after input from both commercial and scientific standpoints. They are voluntary and are meant to provide a common language for commodities in the marketplace. Whenever there is an update, the goal is to give all interested parties a chance to submit ideas. The updates are then reviewed and are voted on by the membership. The updates are never made without input from importers and suppliers.
General Requirements for Cashew Kernels in the AFI Nut and Agricultural Products Section
A. Every shipment to the U.S. must be of good quality and be kept in a way that follows good business practices. No living things are allowed to move in.
B. The cashews must be stored in containers that are new, clean, dry, leak-proof, lead-free, have an airtight (hermetic) seal, and don’t have any paper liners inside. The packaging needs to be strong enough to keep the product safe during normal shipping and storage.
The outer container must be made of new cardboard that is free of bugs and mold and is sealed without staples, unless the end user says otherwise. Boxes need to be at least 200-pound test, or 32 ECT. Only CO2 that is safe for food can be used.
C. Only pesticides that are allowed to be used on cashews can be used, and the amount of pesticide residue must be within the limits set by the government of the country that is buying the cashews. Any pesticide that isn’t allowed to be used on cashews in the country that buys them can’t leave any trace behind. Methyl bromide can’t be used to kill bugs.
D. All cartons must have the following written on them in a clear way:
- The name of the product and, if it has one, its trade name or brand name.
- The producer or packer’s name and address.
- Net weight.
- Place of Birth.
- The name or mark of the buyer.
- Any other marks that the buyer and seller agree on.
Lot numbers or production codes must be written on the outside of the cartons in a way that can be read. This is required by the laws of the country where the cartons will end up.
E. The Bill of Lading must say how many cartons there are, where they came from, and what marks are on them.
F. Before loading, all shipments must be checked for smells, damage from insects or mold, signs of rodents, and any other foreign materials. They must also be carried on vehicles that are safe for transporting food products.
G. The AOAC reference method is used to figure out that the moisture level of the cashews should be between 3% and 5%.
H. If a contract calls for a roast test, it should be done like it says in Appendix II. (Scrapes)
I. You can’t use strong blocking. 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.
Grades and Quality of Cashew Kernels
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
Definitions of various terms
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.