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Food Grade Certificate for Nitrogen Used in Production


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#1 mind over matter

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:54 AM

I have a question regarding the nitrogen used in the production of fruit juice in can. During the Halal audit the auditor asked if nitrogen is food grade. The Production Manager said that they are using nitrogen to make the "can" firm because it is fragile and easily dented but not sure if it is food grade. He told the auditor that he will secure a certification from the supplier stating the nitrogen is food grade. The problem is if supplier cannot provide one. Just out of curiosity, are their other ways to verify if nitrogen used is food grade without asking the supplier?

I made a google search about nitrogen and I’ve learned that it is widely used in food operations to extend shelf-life, minimize spoilage, pre¬vent bacteria growth, and eliminate moisture.



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#2 Gourav

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 05:13 AM

I have a question regarding the nitrogen used in the production of fruit juice in can. During the Halal audit the auditor asked if nitrogen is food grade. The Production Manager said that they are using nitrogen to make the "can" firm because it is fragile and easily dented but not sure if it is food grade. He told the auditor that he will secure a certification from the supplier stating the nitrogen is food grade. The problem is if supplier cannot provide one. Just out of curiosity, are their other ways to verify if nitrogen used is food grade without asking the supplier?

I made a google search about nitrogen and I’ve learned that it is widely used in food operations to extend shelf-life, minimize spoilage, pre¬vent bacteria growth, and eliminate moisture.





Hi MOM,
I am no expert on this but have some experience with this.
IMO food grade certificate for Nitrogen would be difficult but you can always get the purity certificate.
Some six years back I was working for an Indian Snacks company; there we used to use Nitrogen for flushing the air while packing the pouches to provide inert gas to stop/delay the rancidity.
The supplier supplying us the nitrogen gas used to give us the purity certificate.
Thanks
Gourav
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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 06:05 AM

Dear MOM,

Interesting question. It seems there are a variety of (geographical) standards involved, primarily (but not exclusively) relating to purity, ie max. levels of allowed “contaminants”.

The basic (food-grade) EC directive is probably this (2008) –
Attached File  nitrogen - EC - l_25320080920en00010175.pdf   579.84KB   449 downloads
(For nitrogen see E941 ca pg157)

Other comments –

Requirements do vary from country to country concerning the specification for MAP gases.
For example, within Europe, the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), has developed a specification detailing the maximum contaminant levels acceptable for a gas to be considered food grade.
Nitrogen is classed as a food additive when it is in direct contact with the foodstuff and is designated an “E” number. The nomenclature for nitrogen is “E941”Compliance with the specified contaminant levels is mandatory under EU law.
PSA technology MAXIGAS nitrogen gas generators from Parker have been independently tested by an accredited UKAS scientific analysis laboratory to confirm that they fully comply, producing nitrogen gas, with residual levels well below EIGA’s specified maximums.In addition, the MAXIGAS materials of construction have been tested by the same UKAS laboratory to confirm full compliance with the United States FDA code of federal regulations title 21.

Attached File  nitrogen - N2_FOOD.pdf   2.61MB   379 downloads


The above mentioned EIGA compilation (2006) is here –
Attached File  nitrogen - EIGA - Doc 126 06 E.pdf   178KB   256 downloads

And even further, eg -

All BIOGON®-products meet the requirements of the corresponding German and European food legislation. In particular this includes the European Regulations (EC) No. 852/2004, No. 1333/2008 and No.178/2002 as well as the Directive 2008/84/EC.
According to the german regulation about labeling of foodstuffs Lebensmittelkennzeichnungs-verordnung), gases of the product line BIOGON® do not contain allergens. In the production process no GMO-products are generated, applied or otherwise used.

Attached File  nitrogen - db_biogon_n_liquid.pdf   302KB   175 downloads


Various commercial products are offered with purities in excess of the above minimum criteria, eg see above attachs. and this –
Attached File  nitrogen foodgrade - Linde - EN-PIB-0256.pdf   70.06KB   252 downloads

So, reverting to yr original question, you would at a minimum require to get a validated analysis of the gas purity for comparison to the required chemical composition (eg E941) or yr own designated standard. Plus maybe some additional characteristics depending on yr local/specific requirements.

As an example of a possible reason to be cautious, can see this extract from an old but still readable compendium of food tips –

Locating a source of compressed nitrogen is probably as easy as looking in your local phone book under the headings "compressed gas suppliers", "gasses", or "welding supplies". Other sources might be automotive supply houses, university or college research departments, vo-tech schools, and medical supply houses.
Nitrogen is generally available in a number of forms ranging from gas intended for welding, to various purity assured types, to gas mixtures where N2 would be one of the components.
Unless you are very knowledgeable about compressed gasses and the equipment needed to use them it is strongly recommended that you not use any gas mixtures in your food storage, but rather to stay with pure nitrogen gas. Use of compressed gas mixtures requires knowledge and equipment beyond the scope of this FAQ.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Welding nitrogen is essentially a pure gas, but it has one important caveat. When a cylinder of welding gas is used there is an unknown possibility that some form of contaminant may have backfed into the cylinder from a previous user. Possibly this could happen if the tank was being used in an application where the cylinder's internal pressure fell low enough for pressure from whatever the tank had been feeding to backflush into the cylinder. Alternatively, the tank pressure may have become depleted and was repressurized using ordinary compressed service air. The most likely contaminants will be moisture, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxygen and hydrocarbons, but there is the remote possibility of something even more exotic or toxic getting into your cylinder. Welding gas cylinders may not be checked by the gas supplier before being refilled and sent back out for use. It is this remote, but unknown possibility of contamination that causes me to recommend against the use of welding grade nitrogen in food storage. If your supplier is willing to certify that welding gas cylinders are checked before refilling then they would be OK to use.
The varying types of purity assured nitrogen gas are slightly more difficult to find and slightly more expensive in cost, but I believe this is more than made up for by the fact you know exactly what you're getting. Air Liquide, as an example, offers seven types of purity assured nitrogen ranging from 99.995% to 99.9995% pure with none having a water vapor content over 1 part per million (ppm) or an oxygen content over 3 ppm. Any of them are eminently suited to the task so the most inexpensive form is all you need buy.

Attached File  Nitrogen (Various Factors in Food Storage) FAQ_3_5.pdf   534.62KB   269 downloads


Rgds / Charles.C
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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 faisal rafique

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:24 AM

Dear All,

we are also using Nitrogen in water but information is awesome.
Thanks Charles.C
Faisal Rafique


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#5 beatlevi

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:45 PM

For my opinion, it's better to have a letter of guarantee of your gases' supplier with mention that gaz respect all standards of purity and it is safe for use in food packaging.




beatlevi


Edited by beatlevi, 30 May 2011 - 12:46 PM.

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#6 bala_s

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:05 PM

we use nitrogen for our freezedried foods packing. the shelf life of prodcut is increased 6 to 12 months than just vacuum packing.
we had noiced rancid flavour in freeze dried flavoured seafood in 6 months at ambient storage tempeature, (though the moisture is <3%) in vacuum packed without nitrogen flushing. but not in nitrogen fleshed.

charles attachment is very informatinve and usfull. thanks charles.



regards/Bala


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#7 jam

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 10:27 AM

First nitrogen is a inert gas..it will not have any type of reaction

Second It depends upon the puritiy of nitrogen...

Use this information and make trails for Food Storage stability.In this way u can claim it is food grade...


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#8 Lane

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 03:36 PM

Many thanks to Charles.

My company uses Nitrogen in packaging some of our products and we have documentation from our supplier indicating it is food grade. However, with all the thorough information from Charles I think we'll be reviewing the documentation to make sure what we have is compliance with applicable regulations.


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#9 mind over matter

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:50 AM

Favorite Charles C,
First, thanks for your excellent input. :clap:

Second, let me summarize the way I understand the replies and attachments. Nitrogen is pure or food grade per se. It is distilled in air and often used in food packaging to displace oxygen in a container to prolong food life. The only possible issue could be if supplier added chemical substance in it. And the percentage of purity requirement does vary from country to country. Please let me know if I got it correctly.

Thanks everyone.


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#10 GMO

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 04:45 AM

Yes but consider that even if a gas is purified from air, the equipment used (including lubrication oils) may result in contamination. As others have said, you're better off buying to a specification on both chemical and microbiological content than testing. What will be ok one day will might be a problem the next. By testing infrequently you would not be guaranteeing the quality and that is after all what supplier quality assurance is all about.

Your main problem though is likely to be oxygen content. As it is purified from air, most nitrogen will contain oxygen to some degree. It will depend on your product as to how important that is and you can buy different grades with different levels of oxygen contamination.

Another alternative is to make your own. Here is just one company who supply equipment of this kind.

http://www.parker-nn...FoodGradeN2.pdf


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#11 mind over matter

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 06:14 AM

Yes but consider that even if a gas is purified from air, the equipment used (including lubrication oils) may result in contamination. As others have said, you're better off buying to a specification on both chemical and microbiological content than testing. What will be ok one day will might be a problem the next. By testing infrequently you would not be guaranteeing the quality and that is after all what supplier quality assurance is all about.

Your main problem though is likely to be oxygen content. As it is purified from air, most nitrogen will contain oxygen to some degree. It will depend on your product as to how important that is and you can buy different grades with different levels of oxygen contamination.

Another alternative is to make your own. Here is just one company who supply equipment of this kind.

http://www.parker-nn...FoodGradeN2.pdf

GMO,
Thanks for your great points and reminder on two possible hazards.
1. Equipment used may result in contamination.
2. Oxygen contamination

I have follow-up question, though. Just hitting risk #2 - Oxygen contamination. Gourav said that Nitrogen is used to flush the air while packing the pouches or can and will serve as inert gas. Since air will be flushed, I didn’t get the oxygen contamination part. If the there would be no oxygen, there would be no bacteria that require oxygen to live and grow.

:dunno:

PS: I may have missed something. Please enlighten me.

EDIT: As a Food Safety expert, will you recommend Liquifying Air?

Many thanks.

Edited by mind over matter, 03 June 2011 - 07:48 AM.

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#12 Robomouse

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 08:59 PM

The following are exerpts from the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for food grade nitrogen. The two secitons referenced in the primary code are also included below and are easily located by searching the FDA's online CFR http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/. The online CFR is also available from other non-government sites.

21 CFR 184.1540 a) Nitrogen (empirical formula N2, CAS Reg. No. 7727-37-9) is a colorless, odorless, flavorless gas that is produced commercially by the fractionation of liquid air.

(b) The ingredient must be of a purity suitable for its intended use.

© In accordance with 184.1(b)(1), the ingredient is used in food with no limitations other than current good manufacturing practice. The affirmation of this ingredient as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a direct human food ingredient is based upon the following current good manufacturing practice conditions of use:

(1) The ingredient is used as a propellant, aerating agent, and gas as defined in 170.3(o)(25) of this chapter.

(2) The ingredient is used in food at levels not to exceed current good manufacturing practice.

(d) Prior sanctions for this ingredient different from the uses established in this section do not exist or have been waived.

21 CFR 184.1 Substances added directly to human food affirmed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

(b) Any ingredient affirmed as GRAS in this part shall be used in accordance with current good manufacturing practice. For the purpose of this part, current good manufacturing practice includes the requirements that a direct human food ingredient be of appropriate food grade; that it be prepared and handled as a food ingredient; and that the quantity of the ingredient added to food does not exceed the amount reasonably required to accomplish the intended physical, nutritional, or other technical effect in food.

(1) If the ingredient is affirmed as GRAS with no limitations on its conditions of use other than current good manufacturing practice, it shall be regarded as GRAS if its conditions of use are consistent with the requirements of paragraph (b), ©, and (d) of this section. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines that it is appropriate, the agency will describe one or more current good manufacturing practice conditions of use in the regulation that affirms the GRAS status of the ingredient. For example, when the safety of an ingredient has been evaluated on the basis of limited conditions of use, the agency will describe in the regulation that affirms the GRAS status of the ingredient, one or more of these limited conditions of use, which may include the category of food(s), the technical effect(s) or functional use(s) of the ingredient, and the level(s) of use. If the ingredient is used under conditions that are significantly different from those described in the regulation, that use of the ingredient may not be GRAS. In such a case, a manufacturer may not rely on the regulation as authorizing that use but shall independently establish that that use is GRAS or shall use the ingredient in accordance with a food additive regulation. Persons seeking FDA approval of an independent determination that a use of an ingredient is GRAS may submit a GRAS petition in accordance with 170.35 of this chapter.



21 CFR 170.3 (o)(25)Propellants, aerating agents, and gases : Gases used to supply force to expel a product or used to reduce the amount of oxygen in contact with the food in packaging.


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#13 Dr Ajay Shah

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 02:55 AM

When you purchase gas in cylinders from reputable companies such as BOC or Air Liquide for example they will provide you with a purity certificate for every batch and also they will also provide a specifiaction to say that it is food grade.

There are times when you need oxygen and Carbon dioxide if the gases are premixed for Modified Atmospehere Packaging (MAP) work.


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Dr Ajay Shah.,
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Managing Director & Principal Consultant
AAS Food Technology Pty Ltd
www.aasfood.com


#14 dfreund

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 09:30 PM

This blog is very helpful even though a few years old. thanks to all contributors.


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#15 ati

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 01:55 AM

We will request the supplier to provide the product information says the gas (N2, CO2) is food grade, external full analysis (yearly or 3 years), halal certificate and CoA for each delivery to check the purity.


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#16 Justin Jeffries

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 01:33 PM

Another great option over the Parker N2 Generators would be our unit, in most cases built when ordered to your specific N2 needs.

http://www.southteksystems.com/


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