Jul122012

11 Comments

Mountain House Educates Consumers on the Presence of High Oxygen Content in Competitor’s Products

This news release was submitted by Mountain House.

ALBANY, Ore. – July 12, 2012 – Mountain House, the leading domestic brand of freeze-dried food, released the results today of a study designed to illustrate how different brands handle oxygen levels in their long-term food storage products. The study, conducted by Columbia Food Laboratories, focused on oxygen levels found in pouches of Mountain House freeze-dried foods compared to those of a competitor.

image by clear_image@sbcglobal.net

“For proper long-term food storage, it’s important to maintain oxygen exposure as low as possible,” said Lee Goin, laboratory director at Columbia Food Laboratories. “Oxygen causes rancidity in foods containing unsaturated fats. Even slight rancidity can make a food undesirable. Oxygen causes nutritional value to be lost, especially vitamins A, C, D and E. Removal of oxygen will kill any insects, larvae and their eggs that may to be present.”

Consumers should be aware that there are four main contributors to food spoilage: water, heat, light, and oxygen. Freeze drying removes 98% of the water in food, while dehydrating removes between 80% and 97%. Storing food in a cool, dark place helps to avoid heat and light exposure. However, the fourth factor, oxygen, can only be averted through quality processing and packaging, which is where the study found competitor’s products falling short.

“Our curiosity was piqued when we saw brands such as Wise Company implying that their pouches have up to a 25-year shelf life, which is rarely found in pouches of freeze-dried foods,” commented Norm Jager, head of research and development for Mountain House. “Freeze-dried meals serve families in times of dire need when emergencies hit, which means that it’s imperative that these foods deliver on the promises made. So instead of just sitting on the sidelines, we decided to test their products in an effort to educate consumers across the U.S. on the importance of oxygen, which should ideally be less than 2 percent for long term food storage.”

Oxygen Levels in Wise Company Products were 110 Times Higher Than Mountain House
Mountain House commissioned Columbia Food Laboratories to test 30 samples of dehydrated and freeze dried meals from Wise Company as well as 30 samples of comparable Mountain House freeze dried meals. The results were staggering. Average oxygen levels in Wise Company products were 18.25%, nearly the 21% level found in the atmosphere and 110 times higher than the average 0.16% oxygen found in Mountain House products. The most alarming part is that Wise Company products were manufactured in April of 2012 and already exhibit near-atmospheric levels of oxygen, which would not provide a 25-year shelf life.

In distinction, Mountain House has a long-standing history of excellence in the freeze-dried foods industry, pioneering the necessary technology and processes for more than 40 years. As part of a rigorous, ongoing quality assurance program, Mountain House regularly tests its own archived products from as far back as 35 years.

One of my affiliates, Freeze Dry Guy, has carried Mountain House products for many years. Ready Made Resources, an advertiser, is also a Mountain House distributor.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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(11) Readers Comments

  1. Wow. I think that really says it all. I will check what we have, and not buy more Wise brand for long-term storage.

    • Some people are skeptical of this study, saying that Mountain House paid for it so, therefore, it’s questionable. But the lab was independent and Wise Foods could certainly hire a third party to test the results. Someone I know who has been in the food storage business for decades indicated to me a while back that HE was skeptical of some of the claims made by certain companies.

  2. The problem that I have with the press release is that it doesn’t’ say anything about how many samples were taken, whether the lab purchased Wise product themselves or whether Mountain House shipped them the product, and whether the product was in its original airtight container or shipped lose in its Mylar bag and beaten up in shipping. Also, batch number(s) weren’t given. There is too much here that smells fishy. This looks like a smear campaign right now, not science and not “education” as MH put it. It is too self serving.

    • I believe Mountain House has more data available. I published their press release because it was newsworthy. Neither I nor this blog are connected with either Wise Foods or Mountain House in any way.

  3. Seriously, this article made me sick! I have chosen not to purchase Wise food for taste and ingredient reasons, but if I had any of their supplies, I would be so mad right now. With oxygen levels that high, the food won’t last a couple years, never mind 25. I just finished writing a post about it on my blog. People need to be educated before they make the mistake of purchasing food that is improperly packaged.

    • Wise Foods may very well come out with a rebuttal or hire a third party lab to conduct their own tests.

  4. MountainMon,

    To address your concerns:

    * 30 samples each of both Wise and Mountain House pouches were tested.

    * The Wise products were purchased online and shipped to Columbia Food Laboratories in their sealed, original container (although based on its structure, it is unlikely that it was “airtight”)

    * The manufacture date of the bucket was 4/11/2012, so it was a very recent release. It contained 3 pouches each of 10 different flavors, each of which would need to be manufactured in its own unique batch. It is, however, possible that there were up to three batches per flavor.

    * None of the tested flavors contained fish. The primary source of protein in the Wise food was textured vegetable protein, while the Mountain House food contained beef and chicken.

    * The intent of the study was to serve the customers of long-term food storage. It is difficult to make an informed decision regarding such purchases in the absence of unbiased, scientifically collected data.

    * It will come as no surprise that based upon decades of pioneering work in freeze drying and the long-term food storage industry, rigorous production processes, and continuous sensory and analytical testing, we feel that Mountain House is a solid choice. That said, we trust informed customers to make the purchases that best suit their needs, whatever those needs might be.

    A chart showing the oxygen results of all 60 pouches, by flavor, can be found at:

    http://mms.businesswire.com/bwapps/mediaserver/ViewMedia?mgid=331780&vid=5

    Thank you for your interest in this very important subject.

  5. thesurvivalmom … thanks for posting this. It is important stuff. Excellent discussion material and it is generating a ton of feedback around on the boards.

    • Good! I’m glad people are learning about this. Wise Foods isn’t the only company who needs to be held accountable for their claims of food longevity and packaging techniques, AND they have a good chance to address this issue and make corrections in order to maintain the faith their customers have in their company and products.

  6. My issue with Wise food storage is that their 1-year supply is only 700 calories a day. When I asked them about this, they suggested I supplement it with drinks etc.!

    If I have to supplement your 1-year supply to get to the recommeneded daily calorie intake then you are not selling me a one year supply of food. It seemed dishonest to me.

    • David, I agree completely. Wise Foods lost my trust a long time ago. The original owners/investors sold the company not too long ago. Wonder why.

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