A French gas organisation was granted US patent 6180146, 30 January, for "Process for reducing the oxidation of food products by electrochemical extraction of oxygen." The process is primarily directed at reducing the oxidative degeneration of frying oil/fat.

The organisation, L'Air Liquide, Société Anonyme pour l'Etude et l'Exploitation des Procédés Georges Claude, has married three diverse technologies, unrelated to food, to improve food processing. Many companies are active in the three technologies, including Nabisco Brands, Beltec
International
, Fuji Oil and Calgon Carbon Corporation -  but none save L'Air in such integration.

Abstract:

    A process is provided for treating food products in order to reduce or eliminate the detrimental effects of the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere which is in contact with the products and, more particularly, the external surface of the products. A non-zero quantity of oxygen is extracted from the atmosphere by implementing a solid electrolyte which is an O2- ion conductor and is essentially impermeable to the gases. The invention has applicability to preserving frying oil baths.

First of 10 Claims:

A process for treating food products in order to reduce or eliminate the detrimental effects of the presence of oxygen in an oxygen containing gas atmosphere which is in contact with external surface of the products, comprising extracting a non-zero quantity of oxygen from the atmosphere by implementing a solid electrolyte which is an O2- ion conductor and is substantially impermeable to the gases.

By Navroz Havewala, just-food.com correspondent