As of 1 January 2005, traceability of all gases used in the food and drinks industry will be required in all stages of production and processing. The EU legislation is intended to improve the purity of food additives and make them easy to be traced and will affect all the New Members manufacturing food and beverage. That includes countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
This means that the same strict standards that apply to foodstuffs will apply to food additives in the future, and that industrial gases used in the production and processing of food will be affected.
Further to this, if there is a complaint about the end product, the company has got to be able to trace it back to where the problem originates.Linde claims that with Biogon, full traceability is possible. Every tank filling can be analysed and, if necessary, a work test certificate issued as evidence of compliance with the product specifications.
Linde fills the cylinder gases into special pretreated and checked bottles. The batch codes allow fast and complete tracing of gases. The company claims that in most cases, the purity of Biogon exceeds the legally required minimum values.
Liquid gases are used in a multitude of food applications. They are used in freezing, cooling, packing and inerting processes and also for carbonated drinks and stabilising PET bottles. Cylinder gases are used, for example, to pack dairy products, fresh meat and coffee.
In addition, the transportation of food revolves around gas. Since the introduction of HACCP regulations, many products have to be chilled down during transportation, a process that involves the use of gases and equipment. Temperature has become a major issue within the food industry, along with traceability
The industrial gas market in Europe is a multi-billion Euro business, with future growth in the food sector predicted. Gas giant Air Liquide's €2.7 billion acquisition of Messer Griesheim's operations in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, which was completed earlier this year, gives some indication of influence of the sector.
The acquisition altered the balance of power in Europe's industrial gas market, a market that has played an increasingly significant role in food production in recent years. Prior to the acquisition, Messer and Linde dominated the German market, with Air Liquide a distant third.