The keys to generating food grade nitrogen

Coffee pods
Nitrogen plays an essential role in keeping our food fresh and increasing its shelf life. In a process called Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), it displaces ambient air in food containers. This keeps other gases, especially oxygen, away from the food and slows its degradation. Therefore, if you are operating in the food and beverage industry, you need a steady supply of food grade nitrogen. It keeps your chips crispy, your coffee flavorful and your wine tasty.

What does food grade nitrogen mean?

But what is food grade nitrogen? Compressed air or industrial gases, like nitrogen, that come into contact with food have to meet stringent quality standards. This protects the consumers who end up ingesting these products.

The goal is to keep contaminants like moisture, particles, microorganisms or oil residue away from the food. This is crucial to preserving it and preventing the build-up of mold or fungi.

Anybody who cooks or eats knows the potential problems that these contaminants and oxygen can cause. That is why we cover up food, put it in tin foil or saran wrap. We also know the harm moisture, the most common contaminant, can do if it comes into contact with food items like flour or sugar.

How do you keep your nitrogen pure?

There are two ways of getting food grade nitrogen. One is to purchase it from a vendor. However, that is expensive and has several other disadvantages: It poses logistical challenges and could result in supply bottlenecks. In addition, the heavy, pressurized nitrogen containers are an occupational safety hazard.

The second method is to generate nitrogen on site. This is much less expensive, ensures a steady supply and lets you choose the required nitrogen purity.

For on-site nitrogen generation, you need a generator and a compressor. The latter compresses ambient air and sends it to the generator, which separates the nitrogen from all other gases – especially oxygen. Since air always contains contaminants, it is essential to filter them out early in this process. Otherwise, they will reduce the quality and purity of the nitrogen and come into contact with the food items.

This means that an effective air treatment is the key to keeping the nitrogen pure. In fact, several organizations have identified the compressed air used in processing and packaging a possible threat to food air safety. These include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Safe Quality Food Institute and the British Retail Consortium. 

A quick guide to air treatment

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to eliminate the contaminants from your compressed air and ensure you produce food grade nitrogen.

Pneumatech offers all of the necessary air treatment products and options.

From different types of filters to air dryers, we help you get the job done, protect your food items and your end customers.

For example, you can count on our coalescing filters to remove wet particulates and oil aerosols from the compressed air. Sterile filters and dust removal filters take care of particulates, and microorganisms while adsorption filters eliminate oil vapor.

These filters can be installed throughout the compressed air system. All of them have been fully tested and qualified according to the latest ISO8573 and ISO12500 standards.

Then there are different types of dryers that get rid of the moisture that poses the greatest threat by volume.

This includes the innovative Pneumatech PH HE desiccant dryer series. The dryers use a solid desiccant. That offers all of the benefits of desiccant dryers while eliminating the drawbacks of older models featuring loose desiccant beads. 

Your reliable air treatment partner

To find out more about our different air treatment products, simply contact a Pneumatech expert. They will answer all of your nitrogen questions.