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Sun Valley Pecan Company, Inc.

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Voluntary Guidelines for Color and Sizes of Shelled Pecans

Terms for grades and pieces

There are four grades of shelled pecans and their order of precedence is Fancy, Choice, Standard and Amber.

There are nine sizes of pieces of shelled pecans (with the largest shown first): mammoth, extra large, medium large, medium small, small, midget, granule and meal.

Screen sizes for pieces

The following screen sizes (based on 1/16 inch, e.g. # 9 = 9/16 inch) should be used to determine the classification of pieces.

Size
Passes
this # of Screen
Does Not Pass
This # of Screen
Mammoth
<9
9
Extra Large
9
8
Large
8
7
Medium Large *
7
6
Medium *
6
5
Medium Small *
5
4
Small
4
3
Midget
3
2
Granule
2
5/64

* Medium large, Medium and Medium small are generally referred to as Medium.

Terms for halves

The following are the terms for halves (based on size with the largest first): mammoth, junior mammoth, jumbo, extra large, large, medium and topper.

A "half-kernel" means one of the separated halves of an entire pecan kernel with not more than one-fourth of its original volume missing, exclusive of the portion which formerly connected the two halves of the kernel.

The size classification for halves should be based on the counts in the USDA grades for standards for shelled pecans at 51.1437. The counts are as follows:

Size
# halves per pound
Mammoth
250 or less
Junior Mammoth
251 - 300
Jumbo
301 - 350
Extra Large
351 - 450
Large
451 - 550
Medium
551 - 650
Topper
651 or more

Consideration Of Color

The color classifications at 51.1436 in the USDA's grades for standards of shelled pecans should be used. They are as follows:

  1. The skin color of pecan kernels may be described in terms of the color classifications provided in this section. When the color of kernels in a lot generally conforms to the "light" or "light amber" classification, that color classification may be used to describe the lot in connection with the grade.
    • "Light" means that the kernel is mostly golden color or lighter, with not more than 25 percent of the surface darker than golden, and none of the surface darker than light brown.
    • "Light amber" means that the kernel has more than 25 percent of its surface light brown, but not more than 25 percent of the surface darker than light brown, and none of the surface darker than medium brown.
    • "Amber" means that the kernel has more than 25 percent of the surface medium brown, but not more than 25 percent of the surface darker than medium brown, and none of the surface darker than dark brown (very dark-brown or blackish-brown discoloration).
    • "Dark amber" means that the kernel has more than 25 percent of the surface dark brown, but not more than 25 percent of the surface darker than dark brown (very dark-brown or blackish-brown discoloration).
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture kernel color standards, PEC-MC-1, consisting of plastic models of pecan kernels, illustrate the color intensities implied by the terms "golden," "light brown," "medium brown," and "dark brown" referred to in paragraph (1) of this section. These color standards may be examined in the Fruit and Vegetable Division, C&MS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Building, Washington, D.C. 20250; in any field office of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Service; or upon request of any authorized inspector of such Service. Duplicates of the color standards may be purchased from NASCO, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538.

Also, the following descriptions from NPSA's Voluntary Guidelines for Purchasing Inshell Pecans are appropriate for determining grades:

# 1 Kernel (Fancy) bright colored, full bodied, solid
# 2 Kernel (Choice) light weight, bright in color; full bodied, slightly off color;
# 3 Kernel (Standard) amber colored; either full bodied or light weight

The defect tolerance for shell, center wall and foreign material should be 0.01 percent by weight. Except: Small, Midget and Granule Pieces should be 0.02 percent by weight.

National Pecan Shellers Association
Suite 500-G
5775 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
404/252-3663
FAX 404/252-0774









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