Food Commodities


by Sil Pancho



Food commodities are traded to international markets across continents and distributed to reach remote places also. The food commodities are ranked based on availability productivity, and demands of the increasing population. Non-processed food items such as whole grains, pulses, spices, cashews, frozen foods, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and many more are food commodities that are traded to native or internal markets and international markets. Processed food commodities include edible oils, butter, cheese, cedars, fruit juices, sauces and all types of flours. The food industry is a multi-billion dollar business and the world’s largest industry.

Handling food commodities includes many important factors that cannot be ignored such as storage, shelf life and temperature conditions. Storage space requirements should be given careful attention, as the amount of space necessary in a warehouse depends upon the total volume of food stored and on the number of different commodities. Separate stacks require more usable volume than one large stack; hence, each commodity should be stacked separately. Shelf life refers to the average amount of time a product may be stored without nutritional deterioration. A food commodity can deteriorate for several reasons such as aging, microbiological decay, chemical and physical degradation and texture changes. Deterioration of food commodities can be reduced or slowed by careful processing, packaging, handling and storing. Universal guidelines for controlling temperature and humidity conditions to suit the various food commodities are impossible, because these conditions and the operating environment vary from place to place. However, some basic instructions can be followed such as keeping all food commodities in dry conditions, storing wet and dry foods separately, cross-ventilation in the warehouse, sunroofs and covering food commodities during transportation.

Besides food commodities being a profitable trading business, large quantities of food items are donated through food distribution programs as relief measures. The commodities required food programs use inexpensive food staples to provide basic nourishment to populations in extreme food security emergencies, as well as for development activities designed to address food security goals.

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