The key use of oxygen absorber is to protect the shelf life of the food. In the case of packaged food, it stays in the retailer shop or malls for many days which may impact the quality of the food. But oxygen absorbers protect the taste and quality of the food along with the color. It also prevents the growth of oxygen-aerobic microorganisms like fungi etc. Plastic foods are not able to keep oxygen away from the food unlike metal or glass container. Oxygen, on the other hand, helps microorganisms to grow which causes damage to the product. But these oxygen absorbers absorb the oxygen from the packet.
Different kinds of oxygen absorbers are presently available in the market and the application depends on the specific needs. The components of oxygen absorber vary according to the purpose for which it is being used. Basically there are three ingredients iron powder, sodium, and activated carbon. Iron is the primary ingredient and sodium acts as an activator and causes the iron particles to rust and effectively reduce the level of oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere. An oxygen absorber is not harmful to the foods, it doesn’t generate any other gas and doesn’t distort the original smell and taste of the product.
Over the last almost 15 years oxygen absorbers have brought a revolution for the food package industry. It has made the job much easier and simpler than before. This has increased the life of foods after the storage process. On average these absorbers last for around one year. So, you can expect the taste and color of the food to remain unchanged even after a year's time period. Is it safe to eat this absorber? Well, it may not be a good option for your health. This is why it is often mentioned outside the container that there is oxygen absorber inside which should be discarded upon finding.
Now the concern is how many oxygen absorbers are required? Well, the number varies for different things like the size of the packet of the oxygen absorber, area of the container, type of the food that is being canned and the altitude of the place. But it is proved through various tests that a 500cc packet is enough to fulfill most of the jobs.