Liquid nitrogen is a powerful and potentially dangerous form of nitrogen that freezes the water content of food and beverages within seconds. Ice cream manufacturers have developed new efficiencies in the ice cream freezing process by adopting liquid nitrogen to improve the workflow and quality of the finished product. Unfortunately, liquid nitrogen can actually be dangerous if it is not handled properly. If some of the nitrogen remains in the product either as a gas or as a liquid, it can cause serious internal damage.
The risks of working with liquid nitrogen
In addition to its popularity in the ice cream manufacturing business, liquid nitrogen has become a popular tool in high-end restaurants and bars. Chefs and bartenders use the substance to flash-freeze items and create a unique display of fog as the liquid nitrogen is exposed to air. When everything works properly, the liquid nitrogen is not a hazard. However, the substance can cause significant harm if it is not properly handled in the kitchen, or if some of the liquid nitrogen escapes into the atmosphere and turns to gas. As the BBC reported, a British teen had to have her stomach removed after she drank a cocktail that contained liquid nitrogen, and a lab worker died of asphyxiation after a liquid nitrogen spill in the lab.
Liquid nitrogen is colorless, tasteless and odorless. It is also extremely cold, with a temperature of -321 degrees Fahrenheit. If your workers accidentally get liquid nitrogen on their skin while manufacturing ice cream, they will suffer severe burns. If some amount of the nitrogen remains in the finished product, and customers actually eat the ice cream, it can cause esophageal and stomach tissue to freeze. This is extremely painful and highly dangerous.
Controlling liquid nitrogen in the manufacturing process
Now that we’ve explained some of the risks of liquid nitrogen, we hope you are aware of the significant danger that it can pose to your staff and your reputation in the marketplace. Luckily, there are safeguards in the process that can make sure your staff are not unduly exposed to liquid nitrogen, spills are noted before they can cause damage, and no trace of liquid nitrogen remains in the final product.
When nitrogen becomes loose in the atmosphere, it creates a state of oxygen deficiency. When there is not enough oxygen in the room, workers will not be able to comfortably breathe. If this continues, there will eventually not be enough oxygen for your workers and death by suffocation can occur. Since liquid nitrogen has no odor or color, workers may not notice its presence until it is too late.
That’s where an oxygen sensor comes in. An oxygen sensor or O2 deficiency monitor is able to track the oxygen levels in the manufacturing plant at all times, even when temperatures fluctuate. The O2 deficiency monitor takes regular readings of the oxygen in the environment and notices if the oxygen level drops in the building. The sensor then notifies employees that there is a problem, giving staff enough time to evacuate the premises before anything bad can happen.
Oxygen deficiency monitors from PureAire use zirconium sensors. These perform well regardless of environment humidity and are guaranteed to last for 10 years or more. Compared to other types of O2 sensors, which are not able to last as long and require maintenance and calibration to continue to work, PureAire’s sensors offer the unbeatable combination of reliability and performance.