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Mountain House Rips Wise Company Over Oxygen Levels

In a level of competitive rivalry usually not seen in the food storage industry, Mountain House (Oregon Freeze Dry) released a press release attacking the quality of Wise Company‘s food. Although the attack is highly inflammatory and not conducted by a non-biased third-party source, there are many valuable things you can learn from it. It reads:

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.”

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.

We don’t take sides here at the Foodstoragereviewer.com but we do like to make recommendations based on sound science and experience. It’s highly unlikely Wise products can match Mountain House for shelf life simply because it doesn’t use truly freeze-dried food and does not package in air-tight #10 cans. However, shelf life is not the only measure of value when it comes to food storage. We have five different food storage profiles, and we leave it up to you to decide which features are most important.

4 reviews for Mountain House Rips Wise Company Over Oxygen Levels

  1. footluse@comcast.net


    The press release doesn’t say anything about the methodology of the test. How many samples were tested? Were they out of the same batch or different batches? How many batches? Were the package(s) that was (were) tested shipped to the lab in their original container or were they shipped loose and subject to damage in shipping? Since Mountain House didn’t publish this information, it sure sounds like marketing ploy, not science. Makes me think Wise is eating Mountain House’s lunch and Mountain House is sore about it.

  2. reiner.bohlen@ofd.com


    Thanks for your interest, Food Guru and Mountainman. To clarify and respond to your concerns and questions:

    * The study was conducted by Columbia Food labs, an unbiased, independent, 3rd-part laboratory specializing in the testing of food.

    * 30 pouches each of both Wise and Mountain house were tested in for ‘headspace gasses’, O2, CO2, and N2 (by difference). No #10 cans were tested.

    * The Wise samples were purchased online and shipped to Columbia Food Labs sealed in their original packaging.

    * All of the pouches were from a bucket with a manufacture date of April 2012, so it was very recent production. There were 3 pouches each of 10 different flavors. Each flavor would need to be manufactured in its own batch, although it is possible that there were multiple batches of any given flavor (the bucket was sealed and we didn’t capture that information).

    * The Mountain House pouches had BIUB dates between 6/2018 to 4/2019, with manufacture dates from 6/2011 to 4/2012.

    * The intent of the study was simply to educate the market on the potential variation in oxygen content among different brand’s products, a function of packaging processes and structure.

    * Rather than simply make claims, we used data from scientific tests performed by an unbiased 3rd party laboratory to demonstrate the oxygen levels of a wide variety of pouches.

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


    Thanks again for your interest in this very important subject.

    • emmagreenie@live.com


      Mountain House, you are so totally my hero right now. Thank you for bringing this to light. I had been very suspicious of Wise’s claims for a long time now, and this really opens my eyes to how ridiculous they are. I have written about it on my blog, and on Examiner. I hope that people don’t continue to fall into their trap!

  3. davidtuckerman@hotmail.com


    It is interesting to note that in the Wise Foods rebuttal, they claim that the oxygen level in their pouches are “lower” than what Columbia Labs found, without giving any amount. Is 17% lower than 18%? Sure. They have no DATA countering the claims. They also have no scientific basis for claiming a 25 year shelf life.

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