Lime in the Food and Produce Industry

Lime and limestone products are used frequently in the food industry in applications such as brine manufacture, vegetable preservation, tortilla production and as a compound to absorb CO2 during the storage of fruits and vegetables.


Food Ingredient or Additive

Grupo Calidra, Graymont's strategic partner, is able to provide high-purity hydrated lime to the food industry. Sectors using this food-grade product include tortilla and corn chip makers.  Corn is first soaked in milk-of-lime before its conversion to cornmeal during the production of tortillas.  To purchase high-purity hydrate for your food application, please contact Grupo Calidra.

Controlled Atmosphere Storage

Graymont is also involved in the controlled-atmosphere storage of fruits and vegetables. In this application, bags of hydrated lime are placed on racks in a storage room or warehouse to absorb the carbon dioxide (CO2) that exudes from the ripening fresh produce. In this manner, a higher ratio of oxygen (O) to carbon dioxide (CO2) is maintained, permitting vegetables and fruit to be stored fresh for much longer periods. This reduces waste, improving sustainability outcomes.

When placed in close proximity to the produce, the CO2 easily penetrates the multiwall paper bags the lime is stored in and into the lime itself. For apples, lime consumption averages about 1 to 1.5 pounds per bushel. Pears, plums and tomatoes have also been stored this way in Canada and the Northeastern United States, Oregon and Washington. In California, this technique is commonly employed when storing lettuce.

Did you know?

Limestone, the most important and abundant sedimentary rock in the world, is formed by the compaction of the remains of coral animals and plants on the bottoms of oceans.