The Cashew Conundrum

Today is National Cashew Day and believe it or not I’ve been debating whether or not to post a recipe celebrating cashews or to write an in-depth review of the cashew industry, so instead, I’ve decided to do both. Cashews, along with other nuts, have been linked to lower rates of heart disease and all-cause mortality. They are a good source of magnesium and B-Vitamins not to mention they taste delicious, but there’s a catch as so often is the case when you start to explore the origins of your food. The nuts-the majority of which appear to come from Vietnam and India-are exceptionally hard to extract. They have two layers of the hard shell which contain two different acids that can cause skin irritation and burns. In 2011 the Human Rights Watch (HRW) exposed that cashew producers in Vietnam were forcing drug-detention centre detainees to process cashews for 6-10 hours a day manually causing skin irritation and burns. Unfortunately, a 2018 update revealed that these issues continue.

So what does this mean? Should you stop eating cashews? Not at all! What you can do is look for cashews from Brazil, Kenya or Tanzania and avoid buying Cashews from Vietnam and when possible, look for the Fairtrade symbol.

Now if you want to make something delicious with some fairly produced cashews here’s a tasty and easy treat to try.