Have you ever felt like you have been conned when you joyfully open a bag of potato chips, only to find a mere handful of chips inside? The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) says that storage in a sealed bag filled with nitrogen is necessary to keep the chips fresh and tasty.
The TFDA shared a post on its Facebook page and an article on its Web site, in which it said that potato chips are fried at a high temperature during the manufacturing process, and when they come into contact with air they can easily become oxidized, which would tend to make them turn soft and crumble, and can even make them smell and taste rancid.
The TFDA explained that a sealed bag can prevent the chips from coming into contact with air, thus reducing oxidation and extending their shelf life. This it done by sealing them inside a plastic bag lined with a compound material such as tin foil or aluminum foil. As well as keeping out contamination by things like air, grease, damp and microbes, it can also help to prevent light exposure and reduce oxidation.
Photo courtesy of Zhengzhou Amisy Trading Co 照片：鄭州艾美斯貿易有限公司提供
The TFDA says that food manufacturers pump the bags full of nitrogen to prevent the chips from being damaged and broken by knocking or crushing during transportation. Nitrogen is chemically stable and does not easily react with other substances. It is the most plentiful gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, comprising 78.09 percent of its total volume, which makes it easy and cheap to obtain. “Nitrogen flushing” technology can therefore be used to ensure the quality and safety of potato chips, making them look wholesome and taste good as well as keeping them free from contamination by bacteria or other microbes.
(Translated by Julian Clegg, Taipei Times)
Photo courtesy of the Taiwan FDA 照片：台灣食藥署提供
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