Nitrous Oxide In Food Packaging

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Nitrous-oxide is a  non-poisonous, rather unreactive, flavourless, nearly  odourless (it has a barely detectable, sweet smell), gas which does not contaminate foodstuffs.

If food is stored in an atmosphere of nitrous-oxide, not only is the flavour of the food unaffected, but because the gas does not support the growth of organisms such as bacteria, it also has a sterilising and preservative effect.

Snack foods such as crisps and biscuits are often packed in an atmosphere of nitrous-oxide. This is to make use of its preservative, and non-oxidising properties.

Also, because it is a gas, it can be applied to food containers under pressure, this means that when the container, or an aperture from the container, is opened, the (liquid in this case) foodstuffs contained will come out under pressure, so that they can be ‘propelled’, or dispensed,  in an aerosol-like fashion to where they are required. This is, in fact, how whipped cream dispensers work.