Everything About Oxygen Absorbers For Food

Jacob Moore

Last updated July 4, 2021

Oxygen absorbers are small packets that are used to remove oxygen from an enclosed package.

They are added to food packets. They help in eradicating oxygen from food packets.

What Are Oxygen Absorbers?


Oxygen absorbers keep the food fresh by creating a nitrogen atmosphere inside the packet. Oxygen absorbers help preserve the food and maintain its quality.

You will often find them in sealed containers. They help protect food from insect infestation. Some oxygen absorbers get the oxygen level down to .01%. Oxygen absorbers help extend the shelf life of food. They keep the mold away and keep the food fresh.

Oxygen absorbers protect food from pathogens and keep it fresh for a long time. They are great for preserving perishable items. They prevent moisture from growing in the food packet. Moisture causes contamination and should be prevented at all costs.

Why Is Oxygen Bad For My Food?

why food spoils

Oxygen is vital for the existence of human beings but bad for their food. Unfortunately, it is true!

Oxygen damages your food in many ways. Due to the presence of oxygen, the proteins in the food get degraded. There is something called oxidative spoilage that takes place inside the food packet. This process degrades the quality of food.

Oxygen degrades the pigments and vitamins in food. Thus, causing the food to become dark and spoiled. The darkening of food is called enzymatic browning. The presence of oxygen in the food allows microorganisms to thrive. These organisms multiply inside the food packet and cause the food to go bad.

That is when you will see mold and fungus growing on your food. When a food packet is not appropriately sealed, oxygen gets inside it and starts growing. Oxygen reduces the nutritional value of food. It causes the food to lose fats and fatty portions responsible for providing nutrition to the body.

The oxygen content inside a packet increases when there is oxygen residue inside the food. If there is too much headspace inside a food packet, oxygen starts to build up in there. The oxygen then seeps into the food, causing it to become rotten.

It may come as a surprise to you that an element that nourishes life can rot food. People have observed the oxidation of food for years. That is why there are multiple ways to prevent it. Oxygen absorbers are the best way to prevent oxygen from growing inside the packet.

How Do Oxygen Absorbers Help?

jars with oxygen absorbers

Oxygen absorbers are made out of antioxidants. They are used to stop or slow down the process of oxidation. Oxygen absorbers help by keeping the food fresh.

They also prevent the food from losing its color. When oxygen starts growing inside a food packet, it spoils the food. A foul odor starts emitting from the food. You will also find discoloration of the food. All these symptoms points towards food degradation.

The food becomes inedible and has to be thrown out. Oxygen absorbers are filled with a substance that stops the growth of oxygen inside the food packet. They soak in the oxygen present inside the containers and fill it with nitrogen.

This process keeps the food fresh and prevents discoloration. Oxygen absorbers come in small sachets. These sachets are filled with black powder. The black powder is iron. When iron comes in contact with oxygen, it absorbs the oxygen.

So instead of your food, the iron in the packet becomes oxidized. It absorbs the oxygen from the packet, which is why these packets are known as oxygen absorbers.

Most companies use artificial preservatives to keep the food fresh. These preservatives are not the best. They are artificial and can reduce the nutritional value of the food.

That is why a lot of companies market their products as ‘No Artificial Preservatives. But without preservatives, the food goes bad. That is where oxygen absorbers come in. They allow you to keep the food fresh without adding any artificial preservatives to the food.

But what about the ‘DO NOT EAT’ warning on the sachets? These warnings are precautionary. It is so that people don’t consume the contents inside the sachet. A lot of companies produce oxygen absorbers that are FDA-approved. It doesn’t mean you can open a sachet and pour it into your mouth.

But what this does mean is that it is safe to put these sachets inside your food packets. It is safe to add oxygen absorbers to your food packets. Please make sure not to consume the contents of the packet at any cost. The sachets are made out of a material that does not tear easily.

In case you see a torn oxygen absorber inside your food packet, do not consume it. And at no cost should you consume the oxygen absorber. The instructions are clear and are there for a reason.

The oxygen absorber’s purpose is to prevent the food from going bad. It increases the shelf-life of food without any artificial preservatives.

How To Use Oxygen Absorbers Properly?

using oxygen absorber correctly

Air contains 78% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, 1-2%water vapor. Some other gases are also present in this 1-2% of air. Nitrogen prevents organisms from growing, but oxygen does the exact opposite.

It supports the growth of microbial organisms. When a packet is closed, there is limited space between the lid or mouth of the package and the food. Oxygen present in this space begins to interact with the food.

Oxygen residues in the food come in contact with the oxygen in the air. And thus, the oxidation process begins. The use of oxygen absorbers can prevent oxidation.

You can fill the space inside the food packet with small sachets of oxygen absorbers. The first step is to see how many sachets you will need.

Once you place the food inside the container, you will see how much space is left. Now add some sachets inside this space. Place all the sachets inside separate containers. If you expose them to the open air for too long, they will start absorbing oxygen from the air.

It will render the sachets useless. Sometimes a packet contains many oxygen absorbers, and you cannot use all of them at one go. In such a case, seal the bag of oxygen absorbers with a hot iron. Your sachets will be safe. Don’t forget to store this packet in a dry place.

You will be able to seal the packet with an iron a couple of times. After that, the sachets will become hard. So, make sure to buy a small packet of oxygen absorbers. And if you open a bag, make sure to place them in your food containers quickly.

Ideally, it would be best to use a 300 cc oxygen absorber for each gallon of product. For 5- or 6-gallon buckets, you should use 2000 cc oxygen absorbers.

Do not expose the sachets to the outside air for long. Quickly place them in the food containers or seal them up inside their original packets. If you don’t wish to seal the original packet, place the oxygen absorbers inside a fresh container.

Make sure it is airtight. By doing this, you will be able to preserve the rest of your oxygen absorbers, and they won’t go to waste. Now store this container in a dark and dry place.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

common mistakes with oxygen absorbers

The most common mistake people make while using oxygen absorbers is exposing them to the outside air. You shouldn’t keep the sachets out for more than 15 minutes. The iron content inside the sachet starts absorbing oxygen from the air.

The oxygen absorber will become useless. Once you open a packet of oxygen absorbers, you will add a few of them inside your food container. The rest need to be stored carefully. Make sure to store the leftover sachets inside an airtight container.

Please do not put it in a ziplock. It will immediately start absorbing the oxygen inside the packet. You will not be able to use the sachets again. They will become useless.

To prevent this from happening, you will have to place the sachets inside a container. Make sure to shut the lid tightly.

Another way to check the viability of a sachet is by touching it. When you touch a sachet of oxygen absorber, it will feel light and powdery. It means that it is fresh. If it becomes stiff, it means that it is not viable. In this case, do not use the sachet.

They will not be of any use to you. If the sachet is warm to the touch, it means that you can use it. But when you touch it, and it feels hot and hard, it has become useless. In this case, you should throw it out.

Oxygen absorbers have a short shelf life. So, make sure to only purchase as much as you need. Buying extra will be a waste.

Companies often add a little pink pill inside the bag of oxygen absorbers. The pill indicates whether the sachets are good to use or not. If the pill is pink, the oxygen absorbers are fresh. When the pill turns blue, it means the sachets are useless.

Sometimes you will see that the pill is starting to turn pink or blue. If it is a light shade, don’t worry about it. It happens when the pill is exposed to the outside air. Usually, it takes 10-15 minutes for the pill to start changing its color.

Place the pill inside an airtight container, along with all the leftover sachets. It will prevent it from turning blue. The pill is just there to help us understand the state of the sachet. Some packets do not contain this pill.

What Type Of Food Works Best With Oxygen Absorbers?

oxygen absorbers in snacks

Oxygen absorbers are great at preserving all kinds of most. Some food products need oxygen absorbers while others don’t. Tea and coffee are two beverages that benefit from the use of oxygen absorbers.

Make sure to add a few packets inside your tea or coffee container. Another food that requires oxygen absorbers is spices. Spices are dry. If there is extra oxygen inside the container, the spices become moist. It is best to place a few sachets of oxygen absorbers inside the container. It will keep your spices fresh and dry.

If you are someone who prefers dry fruits, then you might want to use oxygen absorbers. It will increase the shelf life of your dried fruit. And keep it fresh for longer. Dried vegetables also require oxygen absorbers to keep them fresh. Just place a few sachets inside the container of dried vegetables. It will prevent discoloration.

Legumes, peas, and beans also require oxygen absorbers. Fungus and mold quickly grow on these foods. But with the help of oxygen absorbers, you can keep them from rotting. The sachets are also great for preserving pet food. You can add it to the packet of dried dog food, bird seeds, and dried cat food.

Grains like rice, wheat, barley, rye, and corn need to be shielded from oxidation. It is best to place oxygen absorbers inside the storage container. Your grains will be fresh for longer. Also, make sure to place the container in a dark and dry place.

Pasta and flour containers are well protected with oxygen absorbers. Just add a few sachets to the container, and it will remain fresh for a long time.

What Type Of Containers Can I Use With Oxygen Absorbers?

which type of jars to use

When you pick a container for oxygen absorbers, make sure it has a tight lid. Your jar needs to be sealed well so that the sachets remain safe. If the container is not tightly wound, air will seep inside it. The oxygen absorbers will become unviable.

Mason jars are perfect for storing food. They also optimize the usage of oxygen absorbers. If you plan to use oxygen absorbers to keep your food fresh, mason jars are highly recommended. You could also use buckets and mylar bags.

If you are storing a small amount of food, then mason jars are great. But large amounts of food require large containers. In that case, go for a bucket. Mylar bags work very well.

To keep your food from rotting, you can place sachets of oxygen absorbers inside the bags. It keeps the food fresh and prevents it from going bad.


Oxygen absorbers are an affordable way to keep your food fresh. Instead of using artificial preservatives, you can use oxygen absorbers.

They come in the form of small sachets that can be stored anywhere. Oxygen absorbers extend the shelf life of your food and protect it from moisture.

So if you are looking for a way to keep your food fresh for long, then oxygen absorbers are for you!

Jacob Moore

Jacob Moore is the founder of BasicFoodPrepper.com, and he has spent more time surviving in the wilderness than an average human being. A familiar face from the rural United States, Jacob has always wanted to live close to nature. Even after spending a few years in the buzzing world of cities and 9 to 5 jobs, he managed to get out to the outer world when he got a chance. Jacob would say that hiking is his passion, and he has spent up to several weeks in the wild.