Oxygen Levels of Wise and Mountain House Foods

Well I am probably going to upset a few people, but I think this should be published.  Below you will find a press release from Mountain House Foods that discloses the results of test that they had run by an independent laboratory.  Now I know some will question the results and the independence of the lab and these may be good questions.  However, in this case I do not think that Mountain House would subject itself to a lawsuit of this magnitude without being sure they were right.

I think that Wise Foods should now step up to the challenge and produce the results of their own testing if the results differ.


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.

“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 tofood 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.

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“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.

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10 thoughts on “Oxygen Levels of Wise and Mountain House Foods”

  1. And that is why Survival Enterprises no longer carries WISE foods.

    WISE advertises their products in a fraudulant manner. In my store, I’ve had to throw away over 50 demo-bags (just sitting out on top of their buckets) after they, being in the flow of heat from our forced-air heater) expanded and puffed up the bag. That indicates active biological agents (rotting vegetation).

    WISE knows about this and couldn’t care less. As long as the ignorant keep spending their $$$ with WISE, it’ll never be addressed.

    Except by your’s and my pocket book.

    1. Please see the Wise Company Press Release below:

      Wise Company, Inc.: Ensuring Quality Every Step of the Way

      Salt Lake City, Utah – July 16, 2012: Mountain House, a supplier of emergency and outdoor foods, issued a press release on July 12, 2012 targeting a single competitor: Wise Company. Why attack Wise Company when Mountain House has dozens of other competitors? Because Mountain House is now launching a new bucket and pouch line designed for emergency preparedness very similar to a product that has been a specialty of Wise Company since their inception.

      Wise Company has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years with its emergency foods packaged in pouches capable of lasting up to 25 years. During this time, Mountain House has claimed that food pouches have no more than a 7-year shelf life. Now, in conjunction with the launch of its new product line, Mountain House has changed its story and claims that pouches can achieve a 25-year shelf life!

      Wise Company takes great pride in providing high quality emergency food with a long-term shelf life. The Mountain House surprise attack relies on a lab study commissioned and presumably paid for by Mountain House. Notably, Wise Company’s existing quality testing and data show oxygen levels in its products lower than those alleged by Mountain House.
      Wise Company’s raw materials and finished goods contain very low moisture levels. The extreme low moisture content contributes to product stability. Wise Company product is then packed in ultra-high barrier (UHB) packaging with a very low oxygen transmission rate as well as a very low water vapor transmission rate (WTR). Once sealed, Wise individual pouches are stored in durable plastic containers. These elements, along with proper storage and temperature, are essential to providing consumers with quality products capable of lasting up to 25 years.

      “We take our obligations in this industry very seriously,” said Brian Neville, president and CEO of Wise Company. “We have confidence in our food pouches standing the test of time.”

      About Wise Company, Inc.
      Wise Company takes an innovative approach, providing dependable, simple and affordable ready-made freeze dried and dehydrated foods for emergency preparedness and outdoor use. Whether you are preparing your family for the future or planning your next outdoor adventure, Wise Company provides great tasting, nutritious entrees that are quick and easy. In short, Wise Company offers a dependable, simple and affordable choice for both your emergency food supply and outdoor needs. For more information on Wise Company and a complete list of products go to http://www.wisefoodstorage.com

      1. How can Wise claim 25 year shelf life when they haven’t been around for 25 years. What proof do they have to make that claim? Makes ya wonder…..

        1. Yes I agree with you I don’t believe this company CEO first off and it says up to 25 years second me two years or seven years up too he says why doesn’t hey get his food tested by a company that other food companies can be aware of and so there’s no pay off or anything like that is going to be true because I’m not gonna buy their products I was thinking about it but I’m not going to do it..Carrie

  2. The Wise Company rep makes a valid point in that Mountain House commissioned this Oregon based laboratory to test the products, meaning they paid the lab to do the study. That fact should raise any intelligent person’s suspicions about the potential for bias. Mountain House should have commissioned multiple labs in different locations to add validity to their testing.

    Before jumping to conclusions, you and your readers should be asking Mountain House to provide transparency about the details of the study and the conclusions drawn from it. For example, how was the test designed? How were the samples handled before and during the analyses? Could oxygen contamination have occurred along the chain of control? How were the tests performed? Was the same equipment, controls and personnel used for both brand samples? How were the results statistically compared and how were conclusions determined? What was the repeatability of the results? Etc., etc.

    In other words, let’s see all of the information before everyone condemns Wise based on one potentially biased test done at a small agricultural lab.

    Lastly to “Anonymous”, it doesn’t matter in the least that the company hasn’t been around for 25 years. Their claim is based on the accepted science of the packaging and processing techniques that they and other food storage companies routinely use. If you’re going to offer up derisive innuendo like “makes ya wonder…”, then at least have the guts to post your name.

    1. If Wise has the test results to verify their claims let them product them. All they have put out is weak response to Mountain houses test results. Let them release their own test data. Until Wise responses to these allegations, I cannot in good conscious recommend Wise Foods to anyone.

    2. @Wayne, there’s a problem with your brain:

      “…you […] should be asking Mountain House to provide transparency about the details of the study…”

      “[Wise’s] claim is based on the accepted science…”

      Your thoughts on:
      Mountain House – “I need more evidence.”
      Wise – “I accept it wholeheartedly.”

      What was all that stuff you were saying about bias?

  3. Veteran Who Is Preparing

    All the press releases I saw on the web from Wise are the exact same with very few changes in words. They all stated that Wise’s internal quality control checks show their food lasts as long or longer than Mountain House. Let’s think on that one. MH gets slammed because they had an outside lab do the tests but because they paid for the tests then you can’t trust the results. Wise had their employees in quality control do tests and we are suppose to believe their results, which I have not seen them post anywhere even with people saying they want to see them. Both companies should post the data from their tests and how it was conducted.

    But when it comes down to it, Mountain House has been around longer and is known to have reliable products. So as a safe bet, for now, I’ll stick with them.

  4. George Edw. Seymour

    The solution is simple. Ask your readers to each donate say $5 or $10 until you have sufficient funds to commission two independent reviews of the top five or six food storage companies by unbiased organizations.

  5. It looks like Wise Company is settling in yet another lawsuit for deceptive advertising practices. CA purchasers can earn over $1000 cash back on their purchase, why not the rest of the country?

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