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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Peanuts 101 - the Basics
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1 - Overview
2 - Brief History
3 - General Information
4 - Planting
5 - Growth
6 - Irrigation
7 - Fungi (Molds)
8 - Harvest and Drying (Curing)
9 - Grading and Testing
10 - Marketing
11 - Health and Nutrition
12 - Other Uses of Peanuts
Grading and Testing

Peanuts are graded using guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmer stock peanuts are sampled using a pneumatic sampler. This sample is checked for the amount of: foreign material, loose shelled kernels (not in a pod), kernel size, kernel damage, and moisture. When grading is complete, the overall quality and value of those peanuts has been established. Each wagon, or box if removed from warehouse, is individually graded.


 Sampling peanut wagon at buying point

The USDA has set acceptable limits for aflatoxin in shelled peanuts. All peanuts are chemically checked for the presence of aflatoxin. Lots shown to contain # 15 ppb of aflatoxin are acceptable for use in food for humans. Those rejected can be used to obtain peanut oil, which upon processing is aflatoxin-free. 


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Last Modified: 1/22/2009
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