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  1. #1
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    Default Exactly how long do MREs last? and general MRE information

    Hey everyone!
    I started to clean out the hurricane closet and I have four cases of MREs.
    Two cases were made in 2005, the other two were 2007.
    I don't think there bad, I mean they weren't exposed to long periods of high temp. They just sat in the closet.
    I can read on the package when they were produced but not an expiration date.
    So does anyone know how long MREs last?

    Thanks,
    Proshot

    Also- please don't say-"open one up and eat it".
    Remember, there MREs!
    Perfection is a powerful statement!

  2. #2
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    "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." — I Timothy 5:8 (NASB)

    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." — Thomas Jefferson, June 19, 1796

  3. #3
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    they should be good for 6 or 7 years.
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

  4. #4
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    WOW!
    That's a long time.
    Still, I ONLY eat them when I have to.

    Thanks,
    Proshot
    Perfection is a powerful statement!

  5. #5
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    I normally keep at least two cases on hand plus some extras in the vehicles. I cycle through them by eating them up from time to time; out hunting, after a workout, or any other time when the kitchen isn't handy. The taste isn't outstanding, but I've grown to like them. That and they finally discontinued that Thai Chicken stuff.
    "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." — I Timothy 5:8 (NASB)

    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." — Thomas Jefferson, June 19, 1796

  6. #6
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    Default ancient ones

    Hell Ive got two cases of MRE's dated from the Early 90's that still smell and taste fine when you open them.. At least they haven't killed me yet (I think) I should think that given proper storage they would last indefinately..... kinda like "C rats".. hell they gave those to me in basic training in 1975, and they were dated in the 1960's....
    Last edited by ak_milsurp; 11-10-2008 at 07:42 PM.
    AK_MILSURP
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  7. #7
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    The meals have gotten better since the days of chicken ala king and the four fingers of death... no more dehydrated beef or pork patties, beef ground with spice sauce and other culinary delights. Ya think with all the improvements they could at least improve the TP!
    Last edited by Deputy Dan; 11-10-2008 at 09:29 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_milsurp View Post
    Hell Ive got two cases of MRE's dated from the Early 90's that still smell and taste fine when you open them.. At least they haven't killed me yet (I think) I should think that given proper storage they would last indefinately..... kinda like "C rats".. hell they gave those to me in basic training in 1975, and they were dated in the 1960's....
    Wow, talking about basic training. When I went through Air Force basic training in 1979 I remember that on our Confidance Course day they fed us K rations. Mine was a 1950's dated Spaghetti with Meatball. It was nasty, and if I remenber correctly it had a tobacco ration with it. Three cigarettes maybe?

  9. #9
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    An MRE in front of me lasts about 10 minutes. Less if I don't need to heat it. Yeah temperature is the thing that kills them quick. I used to keep some in my jeep, after a few years I thought I should check on them....not good.
    The surplus of verbiage oft times consummates in a loss of perspicacity!

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  10. #10
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    The guy I buy mine from says that they are checked for "swelling" and if not seen to be a bacteria farm, they are still good to go.
    "There is no pleasure in having nothing to do. The fun is having lots to do and not doing it'"

  11. #11
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    While back I aquired two tins of Survival biscuits from an old fallout government shelter.

    They are dated 1963 . Opened 1 tin & they tasted as cood as the day they were made .

    Even had that vaccum seal "whoosh" when I opened it .

    I agree with the 6 0r more years depending .

  12. #12
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    Interesting story.

    Dad was at Fort Ord when the Japanese attacked in December of '41. Two months or three months later he was shipped to Port Morseby.

    He said the only food they had was canned food that was dated 1918.

    He said it was edible.

    War story full of crap? I don't know.

  13. #13
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    I've got a case of MRE's that I just put away this summer. Guess I'll check on them in 6 or 7 years ....
    "The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament..."

    I'm starting, to suspect that I, don't know how to use commas.

  14. #14
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    Guy left one in his trunk for less than a year. Opened it and it was molded. Summer in the car will kill em.
    It's so lonely round the Fields of Athenry.

  15. #15
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    Default K-rations

    During basic training in '73, we ate k-rations dated 1950.
    It was weird eating something older than I was.

  16. #16
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    If they go bad you WILL know it.The smell will tell you.

  17. #17
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    The question is not will MRE's go bad, but is it possible for them to go GOOD? I was AD when the Army switched from Cs to MREs, all I can say is the trash was easier to deal with after gagging them down. That said, I keep a case or two in the Western White House for lunches in the deer blind.

  18. #18
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    Default mre

    i have a few bags but do not plan on eating them unless i have to.i ate so many when i was in the army i got to where i hated them. i would buy some spam or something when i was going to the field for a few days.when you get stuck eating them 2 times a day for weeks and no hot meals you just get sick of them

  19. #19
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    I liked the c rats better than the MREs, if you could warm them up, just loved that pound cake.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Clark View Post
    I liked the c rats better than the MREs, if you could warm them up, just loved that pound cake.
    yeah-pound and cake it up your ass! cut 2/3 slices in rim w/ john wayne, put it on heat tab w/ some bit of water in it and they are quite tasty with peaches.
    heat rules the longevity of MREs. just as a general rule let the other guy eat any chicken main entrees.

  21. #21
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    Default

    hated the cheese with caraway seeds though.

  22. #22
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    Default Shelf life of MRE's

    How long past the date on the box? CINPAC mfr'd. military, brown packages.
    Thanks.
    "It's all gone to hell now, the wimps have gangs, pop punk tough guys with neck tattoos"--DKM

  23. #23
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    Never mind, they've been frozen, thawed, frozen thawed, cant do that with cooked food. In the trash they go.
    "It's all gone to hell now, the wimps have gangs, pop punk tough guys with neck tattoos"--DKM

  24. #24
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    A thread with good information: http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=74552
    "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." — I Timothy 5:8 (NASB)

    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." — Thomas Jefferson, June 19, 1796

  25. #25
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    Default

    open and taste???

  26. #26
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    No thanks. 14 years old and have been frozen and thawed several times probably. Lots of bad bacteria potential there.
    "It's all gone to hell now, the wimps have gangs, pop punk tough guys with neck tattoos"--DKM

  27. #27

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    I know guys who have ate them with no issue but the M&Ms they said were from the 1984 Olympics so they passed.
    Free manuals for the CETME and the G3 family!
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  28. #28
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    Default

    One time I forded a stream with a MRE heater in my cargo pocket......YEOWCH!!!!

  29. #29
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    Default

    A few thoughts after reading down this thread:

    1) Bacteria won't appear in the MREs if they were sterilized properly to begin with and the seals are intact. Freezing and thawing may not do much for the consistency texture, taste, etc, but the MREs should not grow any bugs.
    2) The older (first generation?)MREs tasted absolutely terrible. I remember a chicken and rice entree that tasted EXACTLY like wet cardboard. And I do mean EXACTLY! The only way I could figure to eat that entree was to dump the entire bottle of tabasco into it; it burned your mouth so bad you didn't care about the taste! The DoD got so many complaints about the taste that they launched a determined effort to improve the product, and I must admit they were successful. Later generation MREs were all much much better than the first gen stuff. They continue to this date to update the meals with new menus, etc.
    3) The real concern about aging food is not that it loses its caloric content (i.e. energy) but that it loses its vitamin content. This could lead to vitamin deficiency malnutrition if you had to rely solely on decades-old MREs for food for a long time. An easy solution to this problem is to put a few sealed multivitamin tablet bottles in with your MRE's and change those bottles every few years.
    4) Who cares how old your MREs are if you are truly starving? I am willing to bet that the citizens of Stalingrad during December of 1942 would have been more than happy to have found a few cases of 30 year-old MREs in the basement of some destroyed house, and nobody would have turned up their nose at them or looked too closely at the dates stamped on the cases. (I know...MRES didn't exist then....but you get my point.)

    (The)Expert

  30. #30
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    Default MREs, how long do they last?

    I have a few cases of MREs, real USGI not the sportsman guide crap, the oldest has a "inspection date" I think late 2006. I have kept these stored in the house in my gunroom where the temp never varys too much, around 65-67 during winter months and 74 to 78 in the summer. Cracked open the oldest and took one for lunch at work, do this occiaionally to use up the older stuff before it goes too far out of date. I believe it was a beef and vegetable dinner with spiced apples. This meal was the first to me to ever taste a little old, afte knawing on the beef I got it in my head maybe it was too far out of date so when I tried the apples my mind was already convinced it was too old to eat. But I survived with no ill effects. I think if the SHTF these would still allow you to survive

    My question is how long should these last stored like this? Have I already reached the end and should trash them?


    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

  31. #31
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    5 years minimum under those condition, probably ten. If in doubt toss teh wet pack stuff and eat the rest. I have eaten 15 year old MREs. Great scotty pic. We have 3

  32. #32
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    Thanks Mike, I just noticed there is a sticky at the top of the forum, sorry I didn't look....


    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

  33. #33
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    When in doubt, ask. We don't mind answering the same questions again, it helps out new visitors to the survival forum, and helps retain their interest in survival and preparedness. The old hands get complacent and need a reminder now and then too.
    Regards, Alan K.
    Available for Cabinet level positions, consultation on matters of foreign policy, weddings and bar-mitzvahs. Will work for gold or guns.

  34. #34
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    the army would give us 5-6 year old mre's all the time and they were still good to eat. i still miss the good old c rations. everyone needs to eat gree eggs and ham once.

  35. #35
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    HMMMMM...I've got two sealed cases of them with a 1991 inspection date.....

    Woo hooo..... now dat's some OLD food! I can recall going through USAF Basic training field exercise in 1975 and eating "C" rations of canned food.... It didn't kill me. I'm sure they were ancient...

    Last time i ate one of these 1991 dated MRE's it was actually not too bad... of course that was a few years ago....
    AK_MILSURP
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  36. #36
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    A REPORT I READ SAYS THEYRE GOOD 10 YEARS PLUS ACCORDING TO STORAGE CONDITIONS . F'RINSTANCE 6 MONTHS AT 110 DEGREES AND TEN YEARS IN CLIMATE CONTROLLED WAREHOUSES. BUT ONCE I HAD SOME VERY OLD CANNED HAM AND EGGS CALLED 'SEARATS' AND THOUGH SALTY WAS QUITE TASTY AND ALSO HAD SOME OLD CINNAMON BUNS (CANNED) ALSO SEA RATS.BOUGHT AT A SURPLUS STORE FOR 10 CENTS PER.



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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dou 44 View Post
    everyone needs to eat gree eggs and ham once.
    Bad as green eggs & ham was the "ham and mothers", the army called them ham and lima beens, were 10 time worse.
    Wylie

  38. #38
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    I've eaten the dry pack portion of MREs (not teh wet pack pouches!) at 15 years old and they were not only edible, but tasty !

  39. #39
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    Thumbs up a test to see if desert storm food is still good by<>< dk

    eat a first year desert storm meal (menu no. 9 beef stew) the other day still here! tasted the same as others i have tried, hot sause turned brown?(sopakco packaging mullins, sc, 29574-1047) no dates?
    what a man will do to further scientific knowledge.<><dk
    Last edited by DK PHILLIPS; 03-01-2010 at 07:44 PM.

  40. #40
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    Has anyone here ever eaten one of those commercially available #10 can freeze dried foods? They claim 25-35 year shelf life - but never heard of anyone eating something that was even 15 years old (canned food, that is...). I am talking health wise - as when the SHTF, gourmet will not be an option.

  41. #41
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    I had a case that had been forgotten about in the back of a warehouse, it was 2 years pass the inspection date. It was headed for the trash when I rescued it. because of the unknown storage conditions I did not put it with my emergancy stock pile. Me and my kids ate them on fishing trips and just because they were handy. We had no issues with them at all. I have several cases from 2002-05 that I keep in the closet, I think with a steady tempture in the closet of around 65 they will still be good 15 years down the road. I personnally have never seen or heard of any actually going bad. We all know some are nasty from the factory, but as far as one going bad I think your pretty safe if you have kept them at a steady tempature for years past the inspection date.......... my 2 cents




    Looking for Framburg WWII Identification Models possibly other ID models

  42. #42
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    Freezing and thawing cycles over many years of MRE storage, with temp range of 130 degrees, may do well to influence the seal of the bags, if any air gets in strange hostile things start growing.
    "It's all gone to hell now, the wimps have gangs, pop punk tough guys with neck tattoos"--DKM

  43. #43
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    I always liked the C rations ham & eggs. The trick was not to heat them up. If you heated them, they tasted like poor ham and eggs. Cold, they were more like a halfway decent egg salad.
    Oddly enough, I also liked the fruit cake. If nothing else, you could stay awake all night eating it.

    Youre mileage may vary....

  44. #44
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    Default C rations.

    Quote Originally Posted by dou 44 View Post
    the army would give us 5-6 year old mre's all the time and they were still good to eat. i still miss the good old c rations. everyone needs to eat gree eggs and ham once.
    I actually preferred the Ham and Eggs C rats It could be eaten cold or warm with no problem. Most of the younger guys preferred something different so a little trading got me squared away for the long field deployments.

  45. #45
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    People have been writing that they prefer the C-rats over MREs.

    I can't imagine. That is totally incomprehensible. First of all, carry 5 days worth of each ...

    I did two tours in VN and 2 in AFG. I am here to say that MREs can't be beat.

    But, I liked the lima beans C-rat, so take what I say with a grain ...
    I'm always looking for rare varieties of 9x18 ammunition.

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