Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials: Third Party Lab Study Finds Oxygen Levels in Wise Co. Foods 110 Times Higher than in Mountain House Foods!

There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Third Party Lab Study Finds Oxygen Levels in Wise Co. Foods 110 Times Higher than in Mountain House Foods!

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 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. For additional information on products offered  by Mountain House please visit

For more info, including links to data graphs, go here.

About Mountain House
Mountain House, the #1domestic brand of freeze-dried food, has been the leading choice of backpackers, hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts for nearly 50 years, and more recently  has become a favorite  long-term food storage solution  for emergency preparedness. Mountain House products are convenient, easy to prepare and have an industry-leading shelf life. For more information and a complete list of product  offerings, visit


Emma Green said...

This article really opened my eyes! I cannot believe what Wise food has been getting away with! Check out my blog post about the article, and this examiner about it. We need to spread the word!

Anonymous said...

See below for the official Wise Company presss release regarding this matter:

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

Jeff Varnell said...

At this point--it's about test data and track records. I was courted multiple times by Wise a year or so ago to sell their products and they could not or would not answer my questions about these very things--about how they tested their packaging in order to make the shelf life claims they do (which are way out of line with what industry-recognized standards are) ... not to mention how they presented their foods in a deceptive manner (look at ingredients and count the calories), expecting me to to do the same.

Back to shelf life--If you are going to greatly push the envelope in terms of product performance, which is what Wise's marketing claims do, then you need to be able to demonstrate the new packaging methodology and at the very least show the data that represents third party testing that validates those claims. There is no such data and that is why I declined to involve myself in the Wise business ... not to mention the fact that a multi-level marketing approach to this is just not right.

I would certainly welcome more independent, scientific reviews of any and all storage food brands out there. We do need a broad look at food storage products.

But folks who would question OFD's place in the industry simply don't know enough about that company's history and their place at the forefront of the development of the freeze-drying technologies or about their position as the global market leader in freeze drying. Their 40-year history, their many facilities around the world, cutting-edge R&D capabilities, FDA-registered manufacturing plants and continuous USDA-inspected processes ensure my complete confidence as well that of their private and institutional customers around the world.

As for Wise--I just looked on their site trying to determine something about their history -- there's nothing there about it. My recollection is that Wise popped up early last year with a big marketing effort trying to take advantage of the Mountain House shutdown that occurred after they were totally overwhelmed with backorders. Basically--at the time, and even now it seems to be all about marketing for Wise.

To be clear--I am in the crisis preparedness business. I'm a long-time Mountain House dealer. I also am a dealer for several other storage food brands and many other survival related products and supplies. I've been in this business since before it was trendy, more than 10 years ago. I am all for quality products in the marketplace--whatever the brand. But unfortunately, there have always been operations that are not intended to give customers what they believe they are getting ... and that is where I object, since poor product or deceptive market approaches reflect poorly on all of us.

Am I saying Wise is in that category? Not necessarily. I would like to see data that says otherwise.

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