Category Archives: Food industry

January 12, 2017


What are Oxygen Absorbers/Scavengers?

 

Oxygen absorbers have wide usage in the food and beverage industry where it is employed to remove excess oxygen from food packages. The presence of oxygen in packages/containers holding food items does not bode well for the latter. This is due to the following reasons:

 

1) When exposed to oxygen over a period of time, food products turn stale and therefore, inedible.

 

2) Oxygen provides the perfect environment for the growth of micro-organisms like fungi, bacteria, which are harmful for the packed items.

 

It is thus to remove excess amount of oxygen from closed spaces that companies make wide use of oxygen absorbers. The oxygen absorber or scavenger (as it is sometimes known as) will suck in all the extra oxygen present in the atmosphere thus leaving behind nitrogen, which is conducive for the long shelf life of products.

 

The functioning of the oxygen absorber is explained as follows: The oxygen absorber sachet contains iron particles, which will react with the absorbed oxygen to form iron oxide. Ideally, one needs at least 65% relative humidity in the atmosphere for the oxidation process to begin. As the oxidation process continues, all the oxygen in the packages will be removed and come down to below 0.01%. When all the oxygen has been taken in, the sachet gets “saturated” and will not be able to take in any more oxygen.

 

Iron is mostly used in oxygen scavengers because of many reasons. Firstly, it does not react with the packed food items. Secondly, it does not release odor like sulfur or aluminium compounds.

 

The Right Way of Using Oxygen Absorbers

 

Now that one has decided to use oxygen absorbers, they must also know the proper way of using the absorbent. First, one must keep all the jars/vacuum sealing bags in the table. Next, with the help of gloves place all the food items, which are to be preserved, in the jars and vacuum bags. The usage of gloves is recommended as it protects the food items against the ill-effects of moisture and oils.

 

After all the food items are placed in the containers, open the bag of absorbers and place one as fast as possible into the jars. The jar lids must be kept nearby so that as soon as the oxygen absorbers are placed one can seal the jars/containers. This is important as it will prevent any outside air from getting inside the container. Please note: Keep the unused oxygen absorber sachets sealed for further use.

 

September 15, 2016


How Fungus Affects Food Products

 

It is a known fact that food products have a limited shelf life. If they are exposed to air or vapour, then they will get damaged in no time. Food products are easily vulnerable to spoilage organisms like mold, fungus and different kinds of bacteria like mesophiles, psychrotrophs, thermophiles and psychrophiles. The presence of this kind of fungus and bacterial organisms spells bad news for all kinds of food products, beverages and dairy items.

 

Food Containing Fungus

                    Food Containing Fungus

The damages caused by fungus and bacteria are many. These spoilage organisms work by breaking down the chlorophyll present in plants and the iron elements in protein. This will not only make the food product inedible but also cut down its shelf life. When the organic enzymes are separated, then it leaves behind traces of ammonia, amines, sulfides and organic acid buildups. These react in a negative manner with the food products. It will lead to the food items changing colors, turning rancid and becoming greasy. The end result of exposure to fungus and bacteria is that the food will turn stale and be unfit for consumption. If this happens while the food items are being transported from one place to another, then it will lead to heavy financial losses for companies.

 

Role of Oxygen Absorbers in Food Storage
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Spoilage organisms like fungus need oxygen to grow and survive. They grow and reproduce faster in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. So the first thing one must do in order to prevent growth of spoilage organisms is remove all traces of oxygen from the packed spaces. When deprived of oxygen, the spoilage organisms cannot thrive and thus one can prevent the food items from getting spoilt.

 

While there are many other ways to create vacuum in closed spaces, the best method is to make use of oxygen absorber sachets. These sachets contain ferrous oxide, which reacts with the oxygen present in the packed spaces to turn into rust. This process usually continues till all the oxygen has been absorbed and the oxygen absorber becomes “saturated”. Once all the oxygen has been absorbed, all that remains behind in the closed spaces is nitrogen, which is favorable for prolonging the shelf life of the product as well as keeping spoilage organisms at bay.

Oxygen Absorbers
February 29, 2016


What is Oxygen Absorbers?

 

The main use of Oxygen Absorbers is to protect against the decay products, mainly food items. Oxygen Absorbers are small sachets, which are placed alongside the food products to ensure that they do not get spoilt. They absorb the oxygen present in the closed space and leave behind a nitrogen-filled environment, which is useful in extending the shelf life of the product. Oxygen Absorbers usually contain iron powder and sodium chloride, which reacts with the adsorbed oxygen to create iron oxide. When all the oxygen is absorbed, the Oxygen Absorber sachet becomes ‘saturated’ and will stop the intake of oxygen.

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Fresh Meat
March 20, 2015


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.

 

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January 20, 2015


Oxygen is known to be one of the main sources of bringing along with it unwanted moisture and sometimes other toxic gases mixed with it. This causes most packaged foods and other sensitive equipment to get spoiled in double quick time. Especially, in packaged foods, the presence of oxygen can lead to severe contamination and mold growth along with rancidity and in the loss of nutritive value of the foods that are packed with oxygen in them.


Oxygen Absorbers
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Meat Packaging with Oxygen Absorbers
December 15, 2014


 In the packing of meat, it is an established fact that the presence of oxygen can create contamination of different kinds in a very short period. This greatly reduces its shelf or storage life. Obviously, the remedy to this problem is to remove the presence of any oxygen while packing meat and its products.

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