Multiple news agencies have announced a nationwide shortage of whipped cream due to an unfortunate accident that occurred earlier this year at a factory in Florida. In August, two gas tankers and one containing nitrous oxide blew up, killing one employee in the process. The explosion was so powerful that when local authorities arrived at the scene they found the lifeless body of the employee approximately 75 feet away from the site of the accident.
Because of this, the nitrous oxide production was seriously derailed. The accident impacted the food industry as nitrous oxide is a key component in whipped cream manufacturing. While it is not the main ingredient, the gas is responsible for keeping the product fresh and also propels whipped cream out of the can.
Furthermore, dentists also rely on nitrous oxide. The health care providers use the gas, dubbed “laughing gas” as an anesthetic when performing complicated procedures, in order to relax the patients. Since nitrous oxide serves a more important purpose in medicine, when the gas becomes available again, the priority will be handed to dentists and health care facilities before grocery stores can make use of it as well.
Even though the shortage is imminent, it has not yet materialized locally. Walmart, Food Lion, and Lowes Foods still benefit from a rich supply of their private line of whipped cream, as well as full stocks of the popular Reddi-Wip products.
“We ordered extra for the holidays before news of the shortage hit”, says the Mount Airy Foods’ dairy manager, Jason Easter.
Nevertheless, he says that the store has a large enough supply to make it through Christmas without any problems. However, he says also says that once the supply runs out, the store will not be getting any more Lowes-branded whipped topping anytime soon.
Even so, the news might not be all bad. The whipped cream shortage makes it possible for individuals with a sweet tooth to learn how to make their own dessert toppings. If this does not work either, there are still other options available with a wide range of other toppings that feature corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil, light cream, sorbitan monostearate, sodium caseinate, and high fructose corn syrup. Also, customers can always purchase Cool Whip Original, which has not been affected by the nitrous oxide shortage.
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