Can pistachio nuts spontaneously combust?

Pistachio nuts can spontaneously combust when shipped in large batches. The nut’s high oil content and low water content mean that large batches can self-heat to the point of catching fire. Pistachios also absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide, so they can be a health hazard when they are in large quantities in enclosed areas, such as on cargo ships or delivery trucks. This is why pistachio nuts must be shipped under very careful conditions and must be monitored regularly for temperature during the shipping process.

More facts about pistachios and spontaneous combustion:

Pistachios aren’t the only foods that can spontaneously combust. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, apricot kernels, flaxseeds and cashews can also heat up and spontaneously combust under the right circumstances.

Iran produces the most pistachios of any country in the world: over 423 million pounds (about 192 million kg) of pistachios a year. The United States is the next producer, followed by Turkey, Syria and China.

Other things that can spontaneously combust in large quantities include haystacks, coal, cotton, and even dung piles.

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