All U.S. peanut handlers are obliged to follow the provisions set forth in the Minimum Quality and Handling Standards for Domestic and Imported Peanuts Agreement. This program is administered jointly by The Peanut Standards Board (18 member industry committee) and USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS). The Peanut Standards Board recommends the incoming and outgoing quality standards and regulations on all peanuts that handlers buy for commercial use. The Secretary of Agriculture is charged with implementing these recommendations.
Incoming quality standards require all handlers to officially inspect farmers’ stock peanuts and certify them as to mold, damage, moisture content, and foreign material. The outgoing regulations, applied after peanuts are milled, require all peanuts to meet specific quality factors and be analyzed for aflatoxin. Specifications for U.S. peanuts are modified as needed, based on developments within the industry.
U.S. standards – administered and overseen by the Peanut Standards Board and USDA/AMS – establish the minimum specifications which U.S. peanuts must meet. Stricter tolerances for certain grades and sizes have also been established by the American Peanut Shellers Association (APSA).
Peanuts traded under APSA Rules can be on either a screen size or on a count per ounce basis (usually the case with export peanuts). If sold on a count basis peanuts do not fall specifically in the categories indicated on the following grade charts and therefore should not be expected to conform exactly to these standards.