Raw materials handling refers to the manner in which raw commodities (crops or animal) are harvested and transported to a processing facility. The rationales of this operation are to minimize product loss, guarantee proper sanitation, enhance product quality, and minimize bacterial growth. Shelf stable raw ingredients like cereal grains or nuts are non-perishable at room temperatures. Some of the materials have a rigid or strong shell that protects the content. These raw materials do not deteriorate or spoil easily. However, there are some raw materials that are perishable or fragile, and hence precaution steps are necessary. For instance, proper material handling is crucial during the gathering and transporting of eggs to a processing facility. Handling of sugar also poses great challenges. The sugar will cake (become compact due to absorption of moisture) if the storage time, temperature, and humidity are not appropriate. Improper transfer of sugar may result in dusting and buildup of static electricity, which can cause an explosion since sugar particles are highly combustible. Proper pest control during storage of raw materials is also necessary to reduce loss.
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