Modified Atmosphere Packaging: how Nitrogen gas is used in food and beverage production

What is modified atmosphere packaging?

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), also known as ‘gas flushing’ is a simple process of flushing packaged foods with inert high purity nitrogen in order to reduce the oxygen level below 1%, which slows down aerobic decay and deterioration caused by oxidisation, and results in fresher food both in terms of taste and appearance.

What are the benefits of MAP?

This process has numerous benefits to those involved in the food packaging industry. The products are of a higher quality due to the preservation of flavour, aroma, texture and nutritional value, which can, in turn, lead to increased sales. Also, the shelf-life of products is extended, by weeks and even months, opening up new sales opportunities farther afield.

The use of nitrogen as a filler gas also provides a pressurised atmosphere that prevents packages from collapsing and gives a smoother result than vacuum packaging.

Why use Nitrogen?

Nitrogen gas is inert (has no reaction,) which means it is completely safe in the production of food and beverage products.

Nitrogen flushing is not new to the food industry but the widespread use of mini storage tanks to supply the nitrogen has been inefficient and expensive. This is due to the need for (and cost of) refills and the possibility of production downtime if the refills are late arriving. There are also safety risks associated with the need to manhandle and store the gas cylinders, plus UK suppliers of liquid nitrogen are extremely limited.

How Maziak can help?

Maziak have supplied and installed an increasing number of MAP systems, all of which are fully compliant with EU statute 231/2012 for gas used as a food additive E941 and FDA materials of construction Article 21. This gives guidance that Nitrogen gas to a purity above 99% is required for MAP applications, the exact specification to be determined by the product type and the sites expectations. Maziak consult with clients to advise and agree the right specification for all applications.

Our installations involve replacing other nitrogen sources with a NITROSourceTM generator from Parker Hannifin. Once installed, this is a cost-effective alternative, with excellent payback, delivering on-demand food-grade nitrogen gas to the agreed specification, guaranteed. 

Where the product required a gas mix for the purposes of preservation or appearance, Maziak will seamlessly integrate generated Nitrogen gas into an existing or new calibrated gas mix panel.

For more information on how Maziak can help your food and beverage production, or to discuss any of our other services, get in touch on 01933 222 000 or email us at [email protected]. Alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form.

For more information, please call 01933 222000 or email us at [email protected]

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