MRE FAQs

What are MREs?

In 1980 the U.S. Military followed the lead of the U.S. Space Program in recognizing the workability of a brand new food technology. They used it to totally overhaul their food ration program.

They started putting servings of meat, vegetables and fruit into RETORT POUCH instead of the familiar tins cans that had been used for more than 50 years.

The big difference was the TASTE. But look at what else these new MRE pouches offered then, and offer now:

– Shelf Life of 3-10 years.

– Not Freeze Dried or otherwise Dehydrated! Full moisture, gravy and sauce are retained in natural form.

– Ready to Eat. Hot in 5 minutes with boiling water (contaminated and/or dirty water can work for boiling if used carefully) or 10 minutes with one of our Flameless Heater Pouches.

– The food can be eaten cold in an emergency (contents were fully cooked in the sealed pouch!).

– Specially formulated for maximum nutrition (an average of 55% meat compared with 35% normally, for the meat main dishes, for example).

You can purchase from us the MRE Full Meal, or the individual pieces that make up the meals!

Try some of these MRE pouches to see if they aren’t the best tasting, most convenient, long-lasting outdoor and emergency foods available!

How long do MRE products last – what is their Shelf Life?

MRE products last from 3-5 years from the date of purchase if the products are stored in a room temperature environment (70 deg. F), regardless of the production date.

Of course, the production date is visible on all our entrees and on most side dishes, desserts, and other components.

The production date is a four digit number (date code) on each item, example “5156.” In this example the 5 represents the year 2005 (a “4” would represent 2004, etc.), the 156 represents the 156th day of the year. See the top of the individual box or look on pouch for the Date Code.

The official MRE Shelf Life Chart, created by the Army’s Natick Research Lab, gives the whole picture and explains why we are prepared to guarantee our products for 5 years from date of sale. It is clear that the wholesomeness of the products extends well beyond 5 years. 

How do you Heat an MRE?

One of the great advantages of the MRE is that it CAN be eaten cold, straight out of the package, with no prepartion whatsoever. In fact, U. S. soldiers and thousands of Emergency Relief workers around the world have eaten cold MREs in tough situations, and received the nutrition they needed. MREs have served their purpose well with no reheating in personal, family, and city or state emergencies (earthquakes, toxic spills, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods,etc.).

However, anyone will tell you that MREs taste their BEST when they are heated up. In most situations, there is time and opportunity to heat this food. Here are the best ways:

1) Boiling for 3-5 mins.: take the pouch from outer carton and place it in clean boiling water heated from available sources: fire, heating tabs, or stoves.

2) Placing next to a non-liquid heat source: radiator, engine block, or even the human body. Be careful of burning or melting the pouch if kept on the heat source for too long or if the heat source is too hot.

3) Placing in a chemical, non-flame heater.

4) Microwave 2-3 min. after removing from the pouch. (The pouch contains an aluminum, non-microwaveable layer which gives the pouch such a long shelf life).

 

How to Read and Understand Production Dates

The production date is visible on all our entrees and on most side dishes, desserts, and other components. The production date is a four digit number (date code) printed on each item.

The first digit of the 4 digits represents the year, the last 3 digits represent the day of the year.

Example: “2156.” In this example, the “2” represents the year 2012 (a “3” would represent 2013, etc.), the “156” represents the 156th day of the year (about June 4). See the top of the individual box or look on pouch for the date code.

Example #2: “1221.” In this example, the “1” represents the year 2011, the 221 represents the 221st day of the year (about August 8).

First digit definitions:

0 = 2010
1 = 2011
2 = 2012
3 = 2013
4 = 2014
5 = 2015
6 = 2016