Cashew nuts are the seeds of the cashew apple, which can also be eaten. You won't find them in American grocery stores because they bruise easily and spoil fast, but in countries like India and Brazil, they're eaten raw, made into jams or chutneys, tossed into curries, and even fermented into feni, a potent alcohol. Cashew apple juice, which is bitter but nutritious, can be used in mixed juice drinks; in 2014, Pepsi started adding it to Tropicana products sold in India as a replacement for more expensive pineapple and banana juices. In Thailand, cashew juice is sold as both a health drink and, more dubiously, as a sexual performance enhancer. You'd think they would focus on the nuts, because the puns are right there, but maybe that doesn't translate.
Anyway, the nuts are also good for you as long as you don't drown them in salt, but like all good things in life, they come with a horrible catch. Cashew nuts are hard to bust (heh). They're protected by a double-layered hard shell with caustic acids between them, plus the dust of the shells can irritate your lungs. Protective equipment can solve this problem -- it's not exactly Alien blood -- but guess what poorly paid workers in the developing world routinely aren't provided with?
Indian cashew harvesters have suffered permanent hand damage from constant acid exposure. A 2015 strike helped address some of their problems, but India isn't the only problematic cashew source. A 2011 Human Rights Watch report found that Vietnam's cashew industry is powered by drug addicts locked up in forced labor camps, where people who refuse to work or inquire about those pesky "rights" they supposedly have are beaten, shocked, starved, and thrown into isolation. Vietnam is one of the world's largest cashew exporters, and there's no sign that conditions there have improved, so look for fair trade cashews if you don't want to risk human tears and blood being figuratively or perhaps literally found in your nuts.
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