A food specialist on Thursday said the eating of cashew fruit and drinking of milk simultaneously is not harmful.
Alhaji Arz Salifu, Deputy Director at the Office of the Chief Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, dismissed the assertion that a combination of cashew fruit and milk was poisonous.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Accra, Alhaji Salifu said he had established the truth about the matter through experiment he conducted in the Northern and Brong Ahafo Regions.
He expressed surprise that there were rumours that a combination of cashew fruit or juice and milk (or any diary product) was toxic.
Alhaji Salifu said he had to eat both cashew fruit and drink milk simultaneously to convince the people that it was not poisonous.
He called on the media to contribute towards demystifying the fruit and to raise awareness of its nutritional and economic value.
Alhaji Salifu said: “studies confirm that a cashew is very good source of monosaturated fats, copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. Approximately 75 per cent of their fats are unsaturated fatty acids which contain oleic acid.
“Oleic acid is the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health in individuals with diabetes.”
Known scientifically as “Anacardium occidentale,” cashews, belongs to the same family as mango and pistachio nut.
Currently, the leading commercial producers of cashews are India, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.
According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana currently produces more than 60,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts and 100 to 120 farmers were engaged in cashew processing with the installed capacity of more than 18,000 metric tonnes.
Farmers could explore new markets by taking up beekeeping or production of cashew-apple juice and process the raw cashew nut shell liquid or husk for dying clothes.
It has been found to be useful in the pharmaceutical and the petrochemical industry as well.