Edible oils encompass a wide variety of cooking and supplement oils. These include major oils such as olive, coconut, corn, sesame, soy, and other vegetable oils, along with nut oils, citrus oils, and seed oils. In addition to cooking and supplements, many edible oils are used as essential oils, flavoring agents, biofuels, and even in oil paints. Edible oil can be refined or unrefined, which is typical for the health food industry. Whether refined or not, all oils are sensitive to heat, light, and exposure to oxygen. Oils become rancid under these conditions, which affects the taste, smell and clarity of the oil.
Nitrogen Gas for Storage of Edible Oils
To keep the oil from becoming rancid after processing, the vapor head space in oil storage tanks undergoes a nitrogen blanketing process. Because it is an inert gas, as it pushes out atmosphere and oxygen, nitrogen blanketing serves as a barrier to the effects of heat and oxidation.
Nitrogen Gas for Transportation of Edible Oils
Low saturated fat oils used as an ingredient in food processing are stored in rail tank cars so they can be easily transported to the production facility. When exposed to cooler temperatures, these oils can solidify and separate, prohibiting flow of the oil to process. To bring the oil back to a liquid state, a low temperature heating element is used at the bottom of the rail car. As the oil re-liquefies, introduction of oxygen into the oil is a concern, and nitrogen gas is piped into the rail car to lower the oxygen content. This nitrogen purging allows the oil to safely remain in a liquid state for transfer to the process, and is also a preservative so the oil will not become rancid.
Nitrogen Gas for Bottling of Edible Oils
As oil is bottled for consumer sales, nitrogen gas is used to fill the head space of the bottle. This serves to extend shelf life of oil and preserve taste, aroma, and color, ensuring a fresh product for the customer.
Click here for more information about how PSA Nitrogen Gas Generators from South-Tek Systems can help you with all of your edible oils processing, storage and bottling needs, read about our fully customizable nitrogen generators, or contact us for a free cost estimate and ROI at 888-526-6284.