The Earths atmosphere is 20.9% oxygen, essential for most life on earth but not for the preservation of food and other products. Oxygen accelerates deterioration and allows the growth of various undesirable organisms.
Oxygen absorbers/scavengers are sachets placed inside of packages to remove the oxygen. This includes any dissolved oxygen within food that cannot be removed with modified atmosphere packaging and oxygen that can ingress to the packaging over time.
Oxygen absorbers/scavengers sachets are available in singles or in continuous reels designed for automatic insertion and in a variety of sizes, ranging from 10cc to 1000cc of oxygen absorbed (this is equivalent to an internal package volume of ~50cc to 2L).
Maintains product freshness and quality by preventing mould growth, insect growth and rancidity, aerobic bacteria, loss of nutritive values (vitamins), colour change and flavour change from oxidation.
Reduces oxygen levels within a few hours to less than 0.01% and will maintain this level even with the ingress of oxygen into the product package over time.
Eliminates/reduces the need for using preservatives such as sulphur dioxide, sorbates, BHT’s, benzoates, etc.
Compatible with gas flushing/vacuum packaging to absorb any oxygen not flushed or removed during packing, and will continue to absorb any oxygen that may permeate the product package over time. A smaller size sachet is required in this instance.
Non-toxic – the active ingredient is simply finely powdered iron that rusts to absorb the oxygen.
With the oxygen removed the package will shrink by 20%. This reduces the shipping volume and often creates an attractive fitted appearance.
Comparison with Modified Atmosphere Packaging:
Reduces and maintains the oxygen level in packaging to below 0.01% and maintains this level despite oxygen ingress.
Eliminates spoilage, organisms and oxidative chemical reactions in packaging. Extends shelf life more so than other technologies.
Achieves 0.5 – 2% residual oxygen levels.
Temporarily controls aerobic microbial growth.
Vacuum &?Back Flush
Approximately 0.5% to 5% oxygen levels.
Provides some control of aerobic microbial growth.
CO2 Generating Sachets
In some instances the reduction of package volume is not desirable and sachets that release carbon dioxide as they absorb oxygen are available. This balances the air pressure within the package and can help to prevent further ingress of oxygen.
Non-Iron Based Sachets
Also in rare occasions where the iron based sachet is not suitable non-iron based sachet is available. However these sachets are larger and more expensive relative to the standard iron based product.
Oxygen absorbers/scavengers are effective with many kinds of packaging materials including EVOH and PVDC. Some important considerations to keep in mind regarding certain types of packaging include:
An adequate barrier should be used – plastic film must be checked for its oxygen permeability. This is often expressed as the Oxygen Transmission Rate or OTR.
Hermetic seals are essential – non-hermetic seals reduce shelf life by using up the oxygen absorber capacity prematurely.
Package geometry – the package must be designed so as to allow free circulation of air around the product.
Example of Specific Benefits:
Significantly improves keeping qualities of polyunsaturated fats and oils.
Helps retain the fresh-roasted flavour of nuts.
Prevents oxidation of spice oleoresins present in spices themselves and in seasoned foods .
Prevents oxidation of vitamins A, C and E and extends life of nutraceuticals.
Inhibits mould in natural cheeses and other fermented dairy products.
Inhibits oxidation and condensation of red pigment of many berries and sauces.
Inhibits the growth of moths/larvae/insects etc already present within foods themselves.
Typical Applications Include:
Breads, biscuits, cakes, pastries
Nuts and snacks
Beef Jerky and Biltong
Lamb, Beef, Pork and chicken
Whole fat dry foods
Processed, smoked and cured meats and fish
Cheeses and dairy products
Pharmaceutical’s and vitamins
Dried fruits and vegetables
Spices and seasonings
Flour and grain items
Fresh and pre-cooked pasta
Medical diagnostic kits and devices
Museum and Artwork preservation
Bio Certified and organic products