Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage

Most of us have had our first encounter with oxygen absorbers in the form of strange and intriguing white (or colored) sachets inside sealed food bags or jars. And if you voiced your curiosity, you were probably told that it prolongs shelf life of the food. 

Whether it made sense at the time or not, the truth is these small packets hold a lot of potential to keep packaged food items crisp and healthy for months to come. Curious to know more about them? Just scroll down and start reading. 

What are Oxygen Absorbers, and How Do They Work?

Also known as oxygen scavengers, oxygen absorbers are tiny sachets or packets filled with iron powder. The reason for using iron is that it is potent in absorbing 99% of the oxygen present within a sealed environment. 

Oxygen Absorber

Oxidation, or the chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen comes into contact with the fats or pigments in certain food items, is one of the most notorious reasons for food degradation. Other atmospheric gases like nitrogen are inert and do not affect food quality. 

So, when a food moisture absorber is placed inside a food package or jar, it immediately starts absorbing oxygen. Since most moisture or air is absorbed, the food’s shelf life increases. This also keeps pestering bugs and insects at bay. 

In a sealed container or bag, the process of oxygen absorption may last up to four hours after placing an absorber inside. 


Why Use Oxygen Scavengers?


The number one reason to use an oxygen absorber is that it eliminates oxidation. As a result, your food remains fresh and healthy for an extended period. You can use one if you want to preserve the you purchased from the supermarket for the upcoming months. 

Another strong case for using oxygen scavengers is that they preserve food without any chemicals or additives involved. So, you won’t be compromising health at the altar of food preservation. Additionally, the food item won’t attract unwanted pathogens and mold as these organisms generally do not survive in an all-nitrogen environment. 


Common Mistakes to Avoid 


Though oxygen absorbers are easy to use, safe, and helpful for food preservation, there are certain mistakes you need to steer clear of, including –

  • Never use an oxygen scavenger to preserve food products with more than 10% moisture content, as this heightens the risk of botulism poisoning. 
  • Food items with high oil content, such as nuts and seeds, will naturally have a shorter shelf life than other dehydrated food. Do thorough research before deciding on a timeline for preservation. 
  • When you place a sachet inside a sealed bag or jar, do not take it out too soon. Give at least a couple of hours for complete oxygen absorption. Taking out too soon will cause the oxygen absorber to absorb atmospheric air, and not much iron will be left to preserve food. 
  • Finally, ensure the iron in the packet is active. To check, get a feel of the packet with your hand. If the iron inside feels loose and powdery, it’s a green signal. If it feels solid or grainy to the touch, the contents have been used up, and the packet needs to be disposed of. 


How Many Packets are Needed?


Not every jar or bag will do well with a single oxygen scavenger sachet. To figure out the number of sachets you need, determine the volume of oxygen the container can hold. Additionally, you also need to consider the type of food that is to be stored. 

Finally, calculate the volume of the head space – space in the container that remains unfilled, as well as the void space – space between the food items. 

The general formula would be – Container volume – Volume of food = Residual volume. 

Then, 1 gram (g) = 1 cubic centimeter (cc) 

As for head and void space, just add a few cubic centimeters to the final size since they’re usually tricky to estimate. Oxygen scavengers are typically sold in sizes of 50cc, 100cc, 300cc, 500cc, 1000cc, and 2000cc. Depending upon your container and the packet size, you can add one or more to preserve the food. 


O2 Absorbers Worth Your Salt!


Want to start your healthy food preservation journey today? Interteck Packaging offers different sizes of food moisture absorber that will maintain the oxygen level in a food package or jar below 0.01%. Say goodbye to hassles like aerobics microbes and oxidation. 

Get in touch with us and purchase oxygen absorbers according to your needs!

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