UNECE Standards

UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) standard DDP-17 concerning the marketing and commercial quality control of Cashew Kernels

I. Definition of produce

This standard applies to cashew kernels obtained by heating, shelling and peeling the true fruits of the cashew tree Anacardium occidentale (L.). This standard does not apply to cashew kernels that are processed by salting, sugaring, flavouring, roasting or oil frying or to cashew kernels for industrial processing.

Cashew kernels may be presented in one of the following styles:

  • Whole: whole kernels of characteristic shape, with more than 7/8th of the kernel intact. Kernels with no more than one eighth of kernel broken off are considered as whole.

  • Brokens: Kernels where one eighth or more of the original kernel is broken off.

Designations of Brokens as follows:
  • Butts: Kernels of not less than 3/8th of a whole kernel, which have been broken crosswise, but the cotyledons are still naturally attached.

  • Splits: Kernels split lengthwise naturally, provided that no more than one eighth is broken off.

  • Pieces: Kernels, which have broken into more than two pieces.

II. Provisions concerning quality

The purpose of the standard is to define the quality requirements of cashew kernels at the export control stage after preparation and packaging. However, if applied at stages following export, the holder/seller shall be responsible for observing the requirements of the standard. The holder/seller of products not in conformity with this standard may not display such products or offer them for sale, or deliver or market them in any other manner.

A. Minimum requirements18

In all classes subject to the special provisions for each class, and the tolerances allowed, the cashew kernels must be:

  • Intact; the presence of a small hole at the proximal end of the whole kernel or a central split or crack is not considered a defect

  • sound; produce affected by rotting or deterioration such as to make it unfit for consumption is excluded

  • free from damage affecting the appearance of the produce

  • clean, practically free from any visible foreign matter free from living pests, whatever their stage of development

  • free from damage caused by pests, including the presence of dead insects and/or mites, their debris or excreta

  • free from mould filaments visible to the naked eye

  • free from any rancidity

  • free from spots in aggregate in excess of 3 mm on the kernels

  • free from blemishes and areas of discoloration or spread stains in pronounced contrast with the rest of the kernel

  • free from adhering testa exceeding an aggregated area of 6 mm in diameter or shell liquid

  • free of abnormal external moisture

  • free of foreign smell and/or taste

The condition of the cashew kernels must be such as to enable them:

  • to withstand transportation and handling

  • to arrive in satisfactory condition at the place of destination

B. Moisture content19

Cashew kernels shall have a moisture content not exceeding 5.0 per cent.3

C. Classification

In accordance with the defects allowed in section "IV - Provision concerning tolerances", cashew kernels are classified into the following classes:


The defects allowed must not affect the general appearance of the produce as regards quality, keeping quality and Presentation in the package.

III. Provisions concerning sizing

Sizing is compulsory in "Extra class", but optional for "Class I" and "Class II". Designation of sizes is as follows:

IV. Provisions concerning tolerances

At all marketing stages, tolerances in respect of quality and size shall be allowed in each lot for produce not satisfying the minimum requirements of the class indicated.

A. Quality tolerances

Tolerances allowed, percentage of defective produce, by number or weight


Tolerances allowed, percentage of defective produce, by number or weight


* Tolerance is not applicable, shrivelled kernels are permitted, as per description in the classification

V. Provisions concerning presentation
A. Uniformity

The contents of each package must be uniform and contain only cashew kernels of the same origin, quality, style and size (if sized).

The visible part of the contents of the package must be representative of its entire contents.

B. Packaging

Cashew kernels must be packed in such a way so as to protect the produce properly.

The materials used inside the package must be clean and of a quality such as to avoid causing any external or internal damage to the produce. Cashew kernels must be packed in hermitically sealed containers. The use of materials, particularly of paper or stamps bearing trade specifications, is allowed, provided the printing or labelling has been done with non-toxic ink or glue.

Packages must be free of all foreign matter in accordance with the table of tolerances in section "IV -Provisions concerning tolerances".

VI. Provisions concerning marking

Each package21 must bear the following particulars in letters grouped on the same side, legibly and indelibly marked and visible from the outside:

A. Identification

Packer and/or dispatcher: Name and physical address (e.g. street/city/region/postal code and, if different from the country of origin, the country) or a code mark officially recognized by the national authority22

B. Nature of produce
C. Origin of produce

Country of origin23 and, optionally, district where grown or national, regional or local place name.

D. Commercial specification
  • Class and/or commercial designation

  • Size (if sized) expressed in accordance with section III

  • Crop year (optional).

E. Official control mark (optional)

Adopted 1999 Revised 2013