Oxidation refers to a chemical reaction where atmospheric oxygen attacks the fat acid chains of triglyceride molecules. The oxygen attack can take place at ambient temperatures or below (i.e. during normal storage of oils or finished food products). It can also occur at elevated temperatures, such as during processing or deep-fat frying.
In order to protect the oil and improve oil stability, oxygen should never come in contact with the product - at any stage of the production process. In line with the worldwide trend towards the replacement of harsh physical/chemical preservative methods with less severe alternatives, the food industry is increasingly relying on nitrogen to resolve the oxidation challenge.
Nitrogen is a chemical element. Because it is an inert gas, it does not interact directly with the product. It is used to displace atmospheric air (and thus oxygen) and water vapor to avoid oxidation. There are two main processes for replacing oxygen with nitrogen: sparging to remove the dissolved oxygen; and blanketing to assure the absence of oxygen in the headspaces.
Drawing on our deep understanding of both quality and safety requirements, we have developed a range of inerting and other solutions to stabilize oil and fat products at all processing stages.