Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel for Long-Term Food Storage

A frequently asked question in the food industry regarding packing bulk foods for long-term storage is the difference between silica gel and oxygen absorbers.

Based on the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) standards for food articles and safety, we discuss the role of silica gel and oxygen absorbers in terms of maintaining food freshness and integrity during manufacturing, storage, distribution, and sale.

The Need For Oxygen Absorbers For Food Safety And Storage

Oxygen and moisture lead to spoilage and quality deterioration when it comes to stored foods.

Oxygen absorbers are little packets that contain a mixture of iron powder, natural zeolite powder, salt, water, and FDA-approved Tyvek paper.

The function of oxygen absorbers is to remove oxygen and moisture from a sealed environment, essentially leaving behind nitrogen for long-term food storage. This keeps the sealed food from going rancid. Plus, they don’t harm the sealed food in any way since they come in a sealed pouch.

Oxygen absorbers keep microorganisms like bacteria, mold, and insects away since there’s no oxygen for them to breathe. They help preserve product quality, especially when proper packaging and sealing is ensured.

Other reasons why oxygen absorbers are great for food preservation include:

  • They extend food shelf life
  • They’re a great way of preserving food without chemical or artificial additives
  • They keep pathogens at bay since unwanted organisms can’t survive in the resulting nitrogen environment

However, keep in mind that oxygen absorbers can’t be used to preserve products containing more than 10% moisture, since this could increase the risk of botulism poisoning.

Silica Gel Packs for Long-Term Food Storage

Silica gel is a desiccant, meaning it absorbs excess water vapors to limit moisture-related damage. These are small packets that you often find in a box of new shoes, bags, or even electronic equipment.

Silica gel packets are not as widely used in the food industry as oxygen absorbers. However, they may be used to store certain dried fruits and dried meat.

Color indicating silica gel is a great desiccant in this regard, since it indicates when the gel has reached maximum absorbing capacity. The silica gel beads are deep blue when dry and gradually turn to light pink as they absorb moisture.

Sorbead India is a leading distributor of absorbents and desiccants in the field of food safety in India. We’re known for our FDA-approved silica gel moisture absorbers, molecular sieve desiccants, food-grade oxygen absorbers, and more.

Call +91-756-768-8877 or send us an inquiry about our products.


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