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    Food Raw Material

    Food raw materials, as a group, encompass a wide range of products needed by many businesses, including food processing plants and restaurants. Meat, seafood and poultry are gathered from slaughtered animals. From trees, grasses and shrubs, people can gather food raw materials such as grains, seeds and nuts that often have high levels of fiber and proteins. Fruits, fungi and vegetables are gathered from fields, caves and trees; have high vitamin contents; and tend to be either sweet or somewhat bitter. Dairy milk comes from many mammals, such as cows and goats, while eggs come from birds such as chickens and ducks.

    Raw materials (ingredients, processing aids, and packaging materials) are the foundation of finished food products. As such, they must meet regulatory requirements (safe and legal for your intended use) and your specifications (contribute to the functionality and quality of your process and product).

    Historically, research and development worked alone when selecting a new raw material. But now a broad team of expertise is needed, due to increased access to unique and complex materials, global sourcing, handling methods, customer locations, and regulations. The team assesses if the material has limitations or may be too costly to handle, and determines if additional measures are necessary to prevent potential safety issues for the employees and product.

    Traditional Roles

    A description of team responsibilities helps in the understanding of the diverse expertise needed to identify key raw material characteristics.

    • Research and Development (R&D) – Invents the finished product to meet the customer’s expectations.
    • Quality – Ensures that the programs and practices will result in finished product that is safe, is legal, and meets the company standards as well as specifications outlined by R&D.
    • Production (from receiving to shipping) – Handles the raw materials and in-process and finished product in an appropriate manner (including equipment capability) to ensure the finished product is safe, is legal, and meets R&D’s specifications.
    • Sales – Works with R&D and the customer to define and negotiate an acceptable product with an affiliated price point.

    Each area’s expertise is necessary to determine the desired specifications for each raw material.