Our Process

Background Research

Our products and packaging methods have been developed as a result of extensive background and in-house research. The following includes a partial listing of some of the background research publications that have influenced our methods.  It is worth noting that traditionally the preparedness community has passed along information on the storage of foods anecdotally almost as folklore. However, in contrast to the extensive research performed at leading universities in the area of long-term food storage many of these passed along methods have failed. Universities such as Brigham Young University and Utah State have dedicated extensive resources into validating existing and developing new methods for long term food storage that should be carefully considered.  These institutions are advocates for the practices of preparedness and they are valuable assets to the community that should be valued.

Please note that the wide variety of studies performed over the years require some careful consideration prior to drawing conclusions. It is also worth considering that many methods once recommended for individuals at home are NOT allowed nor acceptable for a commercial entity.  Also note that some research studies go back as far as 50 years and some were actually developed for the purpose of non-food businesses. For example, much of the research on freezing temperatures to destroy larva was originally performed to kill these organisms in books and mattresses.

Authors: Mark Gilberg and Alex Roach
Article in Studies in Conservation · May 1993

Conclusions: The following study is often cited as evidence that even larvae and eggs inside of objects are susceptible to a low oxygen environment.  Thus dropping the oxygen to 0-4% is effective in ensuring products are not infested.

Abstract-The effect of low oxygen atmospheres on all life stages of the powderpost beetle, Lyctus brunneus (Stephens), was investigated. Artificial diet blocks infested with immature stages of Lyctus brunneus were exposed to a low oxygen atmosphere (0.4% oxygen, balance nitrogen) at 30?C and 70% RH for varying lengths of time. Mortality counts for immature stages were based on the relative number of adult beetles emerging from the treated and untreated diet blocks. One~hundred percent mortality was observed for eggs, larvae and pupae exposed to low oxygen atmospheres for six, eight and 12 days, respectively. Adult beetles similarly exposed to low oxygen atmospheres all died within three days

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Purcell AE, Barber TC, Johnson JH. 1993. Use of oxygen absorbers in dry-pack canning. Technical Report submitted to LDS Welfare Services.

Conclusions: The following study supports the effectiveness of Oxygen Absorber Packages (OAPs) in reducing oxygen in packaging (this study used #10 cans) and supports a conclusion that OAPs have higher effectiveness then claimed, even when exposed to oxygen prior to use.

Abstract: A study of the effectiveness of oxygen-absorbing packets, Ageless Z300. was conducted. The packets were even effective in empty No. 10 cans for reducing the oxygen levels to near zero. The packets have greater then claimed capacity, thus can withstand a little abuse before use. Smaller packets with a capacity calculated on "dead air" volume of foods may be just as effective as the Z300 but would have less resistance to abuse.

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Can Grain Be Disinfested In 5-Gal HDPE Buckets Containing Oxygen Absorber Packets?
Authors: L. Ogden and C. Griffin
Brigham Young University, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science

Conclusions: The following study points to the requirement to drop the oxygen to 1% or less for at least 12 days for effective deinfestation. It also concludes that hammer on and "Gamma Lids" do not provide a reliable enough seal to allow for complete de-infestation. This study points to the effectiveness of Oxygen absorber packets but that a mylar liner should be added to adequately hold the oxygen label below 1%.

Effective methods of grain disinfestation include freezing, the use of carbon dioxide gas, and the use of pesticides. Oxygen deprivation has also been shown to be an effective method of disinfestation when the oxygen content is held below 1% for at least 12 days (d). High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) 5 gallon (gal) buckets have become a popular and convenient storage container for dry foods such as wheat, rice and beans. Oxygen absorber packets are an effective way to remove the oxygen in high-barrier sealed containers to prolong the life of many of these foods. It is hypothesized that sealed HDPE buckets containing oxygen absorber packets can be used to reduce the oxygen to low enough levels for enough time to accomplish disinfestation. Experiments were conducted to determine how long the oxygen content of 5 gal buckets filled with wheat could be held below 1% when various numbers of oxygen absorber packets were packaged with the wheat. Although it was possible to use oxygen absorbers to reduce the oxygen level below 1% for 12 d, this treatment was shown to be an unreliable disinfesting method because the oxygen levels in the samples exceed 1% too frequently. Because this method is inconsistent consumers would require evidence that the necessary conditions have been met, but this would call for tools not available to most consumers. Therefore, it is not recommended that consumers use this method to disinfest grains.

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Effect of Enrichment-Bleaching and Low Oxygen Atmosphere Storage on All-Purpose Wheat Flour Quality
Authors: Jonathan Myers Swindler
Brigham Young University - Provo

Conclusions: This study concludes that wheat flour stores best in a low atmosphere environment and makes loaves of bread with the best flavor and volume. Also, the smell often described as "off" from flour stored in a low oxygen environment easily dissipates on opening.

All-purpose wheat flour is a useful long-term storage commodity, but is subject to off-odor formation. Although flour stored in a low oxygen atmosphere should inhibit rancid odor formation, it elicits consumer complaints about odor. The purpose of this study was to examine off-odor development in all-purpose wheat flour during ambient and elevated storage by determining the effect of low oxygen atmosphere and enrichment-bleaching on quality as measured by, free fatty acids (FFA), flour descriptive sensory analysis, conjugated dienes, headspace volatiles, bread consumer sensory analysis, color, loaf volume, and vitamin analysis. Enriched, bleached (EB) and  unenriched, unbleached (UU) flour was stored in a low and normal oxygen atmosphere in no. 10 cans at 22, 30, and 40°C for 24 weeks. Moisture remained constant throughout the study. Headspace oxygen was <0.1% in flour stored in a low oxygen atmosphere and decreased in flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere. FFA increased with storage time and temperature. The “fresh flour” descriptive aroma of flour decreased during storage and decreased more rapidly in a low oxygen atmosphere. The “cardboard/stale” aroma increased in flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere. The “acid-metallic” aroma increased in flour stored in a low oxygen atmosphere and was determined to be the off-odor from consumer complaints. Conjugated dienes and volatiles generally increased more rapidly in flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere and in EB flour, suggesting that the acid-metallic odor did not result from lipid oxidation. Bread consumer sensory analysis identified EB flour stored in a normal oxygen atmosphere to have the lowest acceptance scores for aroma, overall acceptability, and flavor. The acid-metallic odor dissipated within 24 hours when the container was opened and  was not detrimental to consumer acceptance of bread made from the flour. Oxygen absorbers prevented the darkening of flour but not the reddening or yellowing. A low oxygen atmosphere resulted in higher bread loaf volumes. Vitamin degradation is not a concern under normal storage conditions. Bleaching appears to increase flour oxidative rancidity more than enrichment. Although storage at a low oxygen atmosphere results in an off-odor present in newly opened cans, it gave higher quality flour and bread. A low oxygen atmosphere should continue to be used in flour stored long-term, and consumers should be made aware that the off-odor present in cans of flour dissipates after opening.

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Quality of dehydrated potato flakes in long-term storage
A. P. Neilson, H. Farnsworth, Lynn V. Ogden, Oscar A. Pike
Brigham Young University

Conclusions: This study backs up the claim that dehydrated potatos can be stored long term up to 30 years in an oxygen free environment.

There is interest in dehydrated potatoes packaged for long-term storage for uses such as military rations, disaster relief, and space travel. Research has shown the effects of processing and storage for up to 2 years on dehydrated potatoes, including such aspects as sensory properties and nutrient degradation. The quality of dehydrated potatoes during long-term storage has not been studied. The objective of this study was to examine the quality of dehydrated potato flakes held at ambient conditions in residential storage for up to 30 years.  Thirteen samples of dehydrated potato flakes packaged in No. 10 cans were obtained from donors. Sample age ranged from <1 to 30 years. A 50-member consumer panel rated the samples for appearance, aroma, texture, flavor, and overall acceptability on a 9-point hedonic scale. Acceptance was defined as the percentage of panelists willing to use the product in everyday and emergency situations. Additional analyses included can seam integrity, headspace oxygen, water activity, color, and headspace hexanal. Hedonic scores ranged from 3.74 to 6.57 and declined significantly over time. Acceptance for everyday use was significantly lower than acceptance for emergency use, and both declined significantly over time. Water activity ranged from 0.27 to 0.39, hexanal concentration ranged from 0 to 0.0209 μg/g, and headspace oxygen ranged from 0.59 to 19%. Can seams varied in quality, but were adequate to maintain a hermetic seal. There was no significant correlation between headspace hexanal of dry flakes and hedonic scores of reconstituted product. Sensory data indicate that potato flakes held in residential storage had greater than 50% acceptance for daily use at 5 years, and greater than 50% acceptance for emergency use at 30 years of storage. Dehydrated potato flakes appear to retain sufficient quality over time to warrant consideration for long-term storage purposes.

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Effects of long-term storage on quality of regular and quick rolled oats
Authors: M. B. McEwan, Lynn V. Ogden, & Oscar A. Pike
Brigham Young University

Conclusions: This study underlines the importance of oxygen removal in the storage of oatmeal. It is also worth noting that regular cut oats were preferred over quick oats.

There exists a market for food packaged for long term storage, for such uses as emergency relief efforts, military rations, and personal storage. The objective of this research was to investigate the quality of regular and quick rolled oats commercially packaged in cans for long-term storage. Twenty samples of rolled oats packaged in No. 10 cans representing seven brands were obtained from donors in five states. Samples had known packaging dates and approximate storage conditions, and ranged in age from 1-28 years. A 50-member consumer panel evaluated aroma, texture, flavor, aftertaste, and overall acceptability using a 9-point hedonic scale. Can headspace oxygen, can seam quality, and water activity of each sample was also measured. Vitamins B1 and E were measured as well as headspace hexanal concentrations. Hedonic scores for overall acceptability varied from 3.8-6.5. Besides two heat abused samples, all brands had a hedonic score of 5.0 or above (neither like nor dislike) Headspace oxygen ranged from .43% - 20.7%. Wide variation in can seam quality was observed. Water activity ranged from .45 to .62. Regular oats were significantly preferred over quick cooking oats in flavor, texture, and
overall acceptability. Using regression analysis, age of sample significantly affected hedonic scores for aroma, texture, flavor and overall acceptability. Flavor and texture was significantly affected by oxygen level. Texture was
significantly affected by type of rolled oats. Vitamin B1 amounts varied and were actually higher in some older samples. Vitamin E levels and hexanal levels were correlated. Although there was a loss of some aspects of product quality over time, all samples were considered acceptable. Manufactures must observe good manufacturing practices to ensure the longest possible shelf life and consumers must store rolled oats in recommended storage conditions to maximize shelflife.

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Feasibility of Re-using PETE Soda Bottles to Exclude Oxygen
During Storage of Low Moisture Foods
Sarah Broderick, Michelle A. Lloyd, Lynn V. Ogden,Oscar A. Pike
Brigham Young University

Conclusions: This study is not applicable to any products manufactured by Mountain Fresh Foods but is a solid validation for the use of soda bottles for short to several year storage of dry goods. in consideration that much of the consumer-grade mylar is so poor and occasionally difficult to obtain, this information is important and should be distributed to the preparedness community along with notes on it's limitations.

Many consumers are beginning to store grain on their own creating a need for easy disinfestation methods that can be accomplished in the home. Oxygen deprivation has proven to be an effective method for grain disinfestation when kept below 1% for 12 days. Re-using PETE soda bottles is an easy way many consumers can store their grains. The purpose of this study was to determine if using oxygen absorber packets in used PETE soda bottles will keep the oxygen percent low enough to disinfest the grain stored in them. Experiments were carried out to determine how long oxygen absorber packets could keep the oxygen level below 1% to disinfest grain. It was determined that low moisture foods can be stored in re-used sealed PETE bottles containing oxygen absorber packets for at least a year without any appreciable increase in oxygen at a level low enough to accomplish disinfestations.

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