Lentils, dried [German version]

Table of contents

Product information
  Container transport
  Cargo securing

Risk factors and loss prevention:
Temperature Odor
Humidity/Moisture Contamination
Ventilation Mechanical influences
Biotic activity Toxicity / Hazards to health
Gases Shrinkage/Shortage
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases

Product information

Product name

German Linsen, getrocknet
English Lentils, dried
French Lentilles
Spanish Lentejas
Scientific Lens esculenta, culinaris
CN/HS number * 0713 40 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Lentils are the seeds of the annual, herbaceous lentil plant, which is a member of the legume family (Leguminosae) originating from the Mediterranean, and are transported in dry form. Lentils are among the oldest cultivated plants.

The pods of the lentil plant usually contain 1 – 2 seeds, which are round, flat and 3 – 9 mm in size. Lentils in west Asia are 3 – 6 mm in diameter, while those cultivated in Europe and especially in the Mediterranean, are 6 – 9 mm in diameter (flat green lentils).

Quality / Duration of storage

Lentils are classed by color into green, yellow, orange, brown and dark brown (Puy) lentils.

Lentils from the most recent harvest are green to greenish-yellow. If the husks are dark in color, the lentils are generally excessively old and no longer cook well.

It is very important for the surveyor to ascertain the year of harvest: it must be taken into consideration that the lentils may be mixed with lentils from the previous year’s harvest.

Exposure to sunlight turns the lentils dark to light brown because they are the most light-sensitive of the legumes.

The maximum admissible admixture content is 1%, of which at most 0.5% is harmful (i.e. contamination by soil, small stones, seeds from other crop plants and weeds, empty legume husks, grain admixtures, legumes chewed and punctured by pests and crushed legumes).

Dried lentils have a storage life of approx. 1 year.

Intended use

Lentils are used as a high-protein staple food (approx. 24 – 32% protein), mainly in lentil soup, stews or as lentil flour.


(Click on the Figure to enlarge it.)

Photo, lentils

Figure 1

Countries of origin

This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive.

Europe Turkey, Russia, Spain, Romania
Africa Egypt, North Africa, Ethiopia
Asia India, Syria, Afghanistan
America USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile
Australia Australia

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Lentils are transported in, among other things, linen or jute fabric bags (10 – 100 kg) or also in millboard cartons, in which case the beans are heat-sealed in film bags. Transport as bulk cargo is becoming increasingly significant.

When packaged in corrugated or millboard cartons, the product should be transported on pallets. The packaging size should be so selected that the dimensions of the individual area modules or area module multiples are conformed to the conventional pallet sizes (800×1200 mm and 1000×1200 mm) and cargo units may thus be produced.

Photo, lentils

Figure 2

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo
Symbol, bulk cargo

Bulk cargo

Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Passively ventilated containers (coffee containers) subject to compliance with lower limits for water content of goods, packaging and container flooring.

Cargo handling

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since this may lead to mold, spoilage and self-heating.

Hooks must not be used in handling bagged goods as they subject the bags to point loads, so damaging them. Due to their shape, plate or bag hooks apply an area load and are thus more suitable for handling bags.

Stowage factor

1.80 m³/t (linen fabric bags, 53 kg) [1]
1.25 m³/t (bulk cargo) [11]
1.38 – 1.53 m³/t (bags) [11]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation


Matting, jute coverings, fiber rope, thin fiber nets

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the packages must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that they cannot slip or shift during transport. If loss of volume and degradation of quality are to be avoided, the packages must not be damaged by other articles or items of cargo.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Lentils require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Favorable travel temperature range: 5 – 25°C [1]

Dried lentils should not be stowed near heat sources in order to reduce the risk of self-heating.

Drying-out and heat harden the lentil husks.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Lentils require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Precise details should be obtained from the consignor as to the relative humidity to be maintained.

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 65% [1]
Water content 10 – 13% [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

The goods are strongly hygroscopic. Dried lentils must therefore be protected from exposure to any kind of moisture (seawater, rain, condensation water) as there is otherwise a risk of mold, fermentation, mustiness and self-heating. Such changes render them inedible.

Sodden packages must be rejected.

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RF Ventilation

Lentils require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: at least 10 changes/hour (airing)

Where ventilation is inadequate, especially at water contents > 15%, heat and moisture result in a tendency towards self-heating and rapid germination during extended voyages.

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RF Biotic activity

Lentils display 2nd order biotic activity.

They are living organs in which respiration processes predominate, because their supply of new nutrients has been cut off by separation from the parent plant.

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RF Gases

As a consequence of the respiration processes which continue after harvest, lentils produce ripening gases (particularly CO2), which may lead to the build-up of life-threatening CO2 concentrations in the hold.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

Oil content: 1% [1]

Where ventilation is inadequate, especially at water contents > 15%, heat and moisture result in a tendency towards self-heating. For this reason, the cargo should not be stowed near heat sources.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Lentils have a slight, unpleasant odor, which is typical of legumes. They must not smell musty.
Passive behavior Any foreign odors are very readily absorbed by lentils and are difficult to remove.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Lentils do not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Dried lentils are sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils.

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RF Mechanical influences

The packages must be secured appropriately in the hold or container so that they cannot move during transport. In the case of container transport, it is also important for the goods to be secured in the door area so that they cannot fall out of the container when the doors are opened.

Point loads applied for example by hooks may result in damage (tears) to the bags and thus to losses of volume. Plate or bag hooks, which, due to their shape, distribute the load and reduce the risk of damage, should thus be used.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

Respiration, especially of moistened lentils, may cause life-threatening CO2 concentrations (TLV: 0.49 vol.%) or O2 shortages in the hold/container. Therefore, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Loss of weight is often a consequence of drying-out of cargo which was not dry for shipment. Losses of volume frequently occur due to the use of excessively weak bag material.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Legumes are at particular risk from various species of beetles (lentil bruchid and pea beetle).

Pea beetles and lentil bruchids are field pests, i.e. they infest the good before loading and require no fumigation because they do not reproduce in the peas; they do, however, cause depreciation by contamination.

Photo, lentils

Figure 3

Moth infestation, on the other hand, does require fumigation. The timing of infestation may be determined from the size of the imagos and stage of development. A fumigation certificate is necessary.

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