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What? No Whipped Cream? Nationwide Shortage of Nitrous Oxide Empties Some Shelves

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The timing couldn't be worse for Reddi-wip, which is challenged this holiday season with keeping whipped cream on the shelves.

A tragic accident that killed one worker this past August in a Florida chemical plant triggered the explosion of a giant nitrous oxide holding tank, thus bringing the production of more of the gas to a crawl. The Cantonment, Fla. facility—Airgas—is the largest North American producer of the nitrous oxide, which is integral in the production of that fluffy, canned whipped cream that is wildly popular for the holidays.

"Due to an industry-wide supply issue, there is currently a shortage of some whipped toppings, including Reddi-wip," a spokeswoman for Conagra Foods told The Washington Post. The spokeswoman added that a number of other private label whipped toppings were also in short supply.

NBC's "The Today Show" reported Friday morning that some grocery stores and coffee shops were also hanging signs, warning customers of the shortage.

A spokesperson for ConAgra foods said, "We should have our full supply up and running by February."

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