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Industrial gases helping to make food safer and healthier

Changes in lifestyle have led to new food habits and the quest for foods that are ready to eat, simple to cook and easy to preserve. Air Liquide is taking part in this reinvention of the food processing chain. Read on for details with Rémi Charachon, Vice-President of Industrial Merchant Business Line.

Three questions to Rémi Charachon, Vice-President of Industrial Merchant Business Line

What solutions does Air Liquide offer to the food-processing industry?
From agricultural production to in-store distribution, industrial gases play an essential role: they help to improve product quality and optimize production methods. For example, our modified atmosphere packaging solutions preserve food (salads, deli meats, prepared dishes, etc.) and extend their expiration dates. The same is true for our nitrogen and carbon dioxide freezing technologies, which make it possible to maintain the organoleptic* properties of the products while allowing for greater flexibility in production.

What concrete actions do you take to promote food safety?
We were forerunners with the creation in 1986 of our line of food-grade gases, ALIGALTM, which were developed to meet the needs of the food-processing industry. Nine years later, this Air Liquide standard inspired a European directive. Today all our manufacturing and processing plants that produce ALIGALTM gases implement a strict method that identifies, evaluates and manages potential risks to ensure food safety. Furthermore, in response to the needs of our customers in the beverage industry, we obtained the “FSSC** 22 000” certification – the most stringent in the world – for all our liquid carbon dioxide production sites.

What is the growth outlook for the food-processing industry?
Changes in eating habits, particularly in developing economies, are opening up good prospects for Air Liquide. The reduction of food waste is a priority that is driving our search for new gas-based solutions that are safe for consumers and can provide longer storage periods, and to offer an alternative to chemical insecticides to counter losses upstream in silos.

* Refers to substances (especially those absorbed orally) that stimulate a sensory receptor.
** Food Safety System Certification.

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