Many foods are very sensitive for oxygen, which is responsible for the deterioration of many products either directly or indirectly. In fact, in many cases food deterioration is caused by oxidation reactions or by the presence of spoilage aerobic microorganisms. Therefore, in order to preserve these products, oxygen is often excluded. Oxygen presence in food packages is mainly due to failures in the packaging process, such as mixture of gases containing oxygen residues, or inefficient vacuum. Vacuum packaging has been widely used to eliminate oxygen in the package prior to sealing. However, the oxygen that permeates from the outside environment into the package through the packaging material cannot be removed by this method.
The use of oxygen scavenging packaging materials means that oxygen dissolved in the food, or present initially in the head space, can potentially be reduced to levels much lower than those achievable.
Oxygen scavengers Used in Meat Packaging to control color in red meat packages. When the pigment for red meat (hemoglobin) is exposed to oxygen, the meat appears as a bright red color, which is associated with freshness and overall acceptability. However, when meat is exposed to too much oxygen over time, the pigment converts to hemoglobin, which appears as a brown color and is not visually acceptable to consumers. Oxygen can turn fats rancid, cause flavor deterioration, create color changes, encourage mold and aerobic bacteria growth, and deplete nutritional values.
The Uses of Oxygen Absorber designed for the specific package can retain freshness and extend product shelf life without the use of artificial additives.