Small changes in moisture content dependent on the condition of the atmosphere will not normally cause damage to oilseeds. If, however, the seeds are in a confined space, the lack of ventilation may lead to heating in which the evaporation may be excessive in parts of the seed with condensation in other parts, leading to local mold growth. This will result in a rapid increase in free fatty acid of the oil. An example of this is the sweating of seed, which takes place under tarpaulins when they have been kept on for several days. In the early stages the seeds stick together and form lumps, which break up easily unless the damage has become severe. A bag of seed then may become a solid block.
Claims may be put forward on the ground that there has been a high increase in acid value of "free fatty acid" in consequence of decrease in oil content. This type of loss may be partly attributable to the nature of the seed itself, i.e. quality (green), unfavorable weather at the time of harvest, insufficient drying, etc. It is desirable to check the analysis out-turn of both sound and damaged seeds as a guide to assessment of allowance. If the seeds are wet and mildewed the oil to be extracted may not be seriously damaged or not damaged at all, as there is not an increase of acidity. Chemical tests should be made to determine the extent of damage, if any.
Apart from water damage, country damage can take the form of heating in stacks due to bad ventilation or insect infestation causing hot spots in seeds, fermentation and, in some cases, loss in weight. Insect attack is more common with peanuts than with palm kernels; it is recognized in the case of nuts in shell by the entry holes in the shell, and, in kernels, by numerous holes and the presence of larvae. Insect damage as well as heating results in increased fatty acid. Heating in storage will lead to mold growth and, in cases where the temperature is high, scorching of the seed will be obvious. With insect damage, an intense attack will be denoted by the presence of a quantity of fine meal associated with the kernels.
Normally there is no danger of loss of color in peanuts and palm kernels during transit. They may, however, be discolored due to damage by one or other of the causes indicated above. Loss of weight can occur due to loss of moisture or to extensive insect infestation. The former is only determined by an analysis of the seed. It depends on the humidity at the time of weighing as there is equilibrium moisture take up of the seed dependent on atmospheric conditions. If the nuts are loaded under condition of high humidity there is every possibility that they will lose weight in transit. See also IMDG Code & US CFR.
- Commodity Name:
OILSEEDS (including Palm Kernels, Peanuts, etc.)