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The food sanitizer in Fallout 3 has a passive effect on the player as long as it is in the player's inventory. While in the player's inventory, the food sanitizer will increase the HP value of food by 20%. The food sanitizer has no effect on the radiation rating of the food. According to the in-game dialogue, it will cleanse most food in the inventory of harmful bacteria, allowing greater nutritional gain.
The food sanitizer is temporarily removed when you enter Tranquility Lane in Vault 112, when you are captured by Colonel Autumn, when you enter the Operation: Anchorage Simulator located in the Outcast Outpost, when you enter The Pitt, and when you are abducted by aliens on Mothership Zeta, along with all other non-quest items.
Fallout: New Vegas
While food sanitizers can be found in Fallout: New Vegas (prior to Patch 220.127.116.11x), they do not have as wide-sweeping an effect as in Fallout 3. The food sanitizer only affects three food items found in the game: junk food, bubblegum, and spore plant pods (Honest Hearts). In each case it adds a single point of health restoration when the item is used. Other than this minor effect, food sanitizers serve no real function and may be best sold for profit rather than kept.
Fallout: New Vegas
Prior to Patch 18.104.22.168x, five food sanitizers could be found in the basement of the REPCONN Test Site. Four were found on the table in the room marked with "Food" signs, with the fifth found at the bottom of the stairs leading to the lower floor of the basement. The release of Patch 22.214.171.124x removed all instances of the item.
- Food sanitizers are also set up to work with nukalurk meat which is not present in New Vegas' normal gameplay.
- Carrying more than one food sanitizer will negate the limited bonuses it provides. The item is only active if there is only one in the player's inventory.