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How Long Do MRE Last? A Comprehensive Guide

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Have you ever heard of MREs or Meals Ready to Eat?

It’s a popular meal option for outdoor enthusiasts and military personnel. You just need it in emergencies. MREs are designed to provide a complete meal with all the necessary nutrients in one package.

But, when buying MREs, the question often arises as to how long do MRE last. The answer to this question depends on various factors such as:

  • Temperature.
  • Storage conditions.
  • The type of MRE.
  • And others.

Generally, at a constant temperature of 60°F (15°C), the MRE has an expiry date of 3-5 years. But you can extend this storage period up to 10 years.

You can achieve this by storing in cooler conditions. Or you can reduce it to 1-2 years when stored at higher temperatures.

In this article, we will explain in detail how long MREs last. We will reveal important points for your safety! You will also learn all about storage so that your MREs are not expired.

Solving the Riddle – What Do MREs Contain?

All the food that one MRE set contains

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, are self-sufficient foods. They will help you provide nutritious meals. Each MRE contains the following:

  • A main dish.
  • A side dish.
  • A dessert or snack.
  • Beverage mix.
  • Accessory Kit. 

A set of accessories includes everything you need to make your meal comfortable:

  • Dishes.
  • Napkins.
  • And other necessary items.

In each meal, you should understand how long MREs last. That way, you can be sure to be safe. You can protect yourself from poisoning and other unpleasant health situations.

The main entrée in an MRE can vary and include items such as beef stew, spaghetti, chicken and rice, or chili macaroni. Garnish usually includes items such as crackers, bread, or rice. Dessert or snacks can be cookies, candy, or fruit.

Drinks are usually a powdered mixture. You can mix it with water to make a flavored drink. Some MREs also include a bag of instant coffee or tea.

MREs are designed for easy storage, transportation, and preparation. But all of these products are specially sealed in a special bag. It is done so you don’t have to worry about how long MREs can last.

It makes them a popular food option for the outdoors. For example, people often take them when camping, hiking, or hunting.

Because of the full nutrition, MREs have become a popular option for those who want a quick and easy snack on the go.

When Is It Best Not to Eat This Food?

Always test MREs before you use them

Of course, many people worry about how long MREs last. And that’s not surprising because no one wants to get health problems.

It’s important to test MREs before you use them. That way, you’ll be sure they’re safe to consume. Here are some signs that MREs may be unfit for consumption:

  • Damage to the packaging – If you notice damage to the packaging in any way, it could jeopardize its products.
  • Bulging or leaking – If the packaging is bulging or leaking, it could be a sign that the food inside has gone bad.
  • Weird odor – If an unusual or unpleasant smell comes from the package, it could indicate that the MREs expired.
  • Discoloration – If the products look discolored or have strange stains, it could be a sign that they have gone bad.
  • Taste. If food has an unpleasant taste or strange consistency, it’s a sign that the MRE expiry date has passed.

Remember that even if an MRE looks good, it can be expired and unsafe to consume. Always check the expiry date before consuming your MRE.

If you doubt how long MREs last, it’s better to reassure yourself and not consume them.

Proper Storage – Extend The MRE Expiry Date

Tips and tricks how to extend MREs shelf life

Proper storage is key, so you don’t have to wonder how long MREs can last.

Here are some tips for storing MREs:

  • Store in a cool, dry place. You should store MREs in a cool, dry place at 50-70°F (10-21°C). Do not store them in places prone to temperature fluctuations, such as the garage or attic.
  • Store away from moisture. Store MRE products away from moisture. It can cause packaging deterioration and product deterioration. Store them in an airtight container or plastic bag.
  • Rotate supplies. You should rotate your MRE supplies regularly. This way, you’ll use up the oldest ones first. 
  • Check the MRE expiry date. MREs have an expiration date listed on the package. Check the dates regularly and use the ones that are nearing their expiration dates first.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures. Extreme heat or cold can cause the packaging to break down and spoil the products. You should not store MREs in places exposed to extreme temperatures, such as in a car or in direct sunlight.

If you follow these tips, MREs can extend their shelf life by up to 10 years if stored properly.

Proper storage is the key to keeping MREs safe for consumption.

Why You Should Put The MRE in The Bug Out Bag

Soldier holding two MRE meals

MREs are a vital addition to any emergency preparedness kit or outdoor essentials list for several reasons:

  • First – it’s a complete meal in one package. It provides all the nutrients and calories you need.
  • Second – MREs have a long shelf life lasting up to 10 years if stored properly. It makes them a reliable source of food. You can store it for a long time without it spoiling.
  • Third – MREs are convenient and easy to prepare. They don’t require refrigeration or cooking equipment. It makes them ideal when traditional cooking methods are unavailable or impractical.

Overall, MREs are a reliable and convenient food option. It can provide sustenance in emergencies or during outdoor activities.

They are an important addition to any list of essentials for those who value preparedness and convenience.

But most importantly, you need to know how long MREs last. They have an expiration date on the package, and you should consume it before that date.

If you store them properly, MREs can last up to 10 years. So, make sure that you check the expiry dates regularly and use up the oldest ones first.