Civilian vs Military MREs
MRE stands for Meal, Ready-to-Eat. While a lot of preppers like to get their hands on MREs from the U.S. military, there are a couple of reasons that you may be better off buying civilian MREs.
WHY Civilian MRE’s are a better option:
- The commercial sale of Civilian MRE’s is not restricted like the military MREs.
- You can buy from legitimate dealers, not eBay sellers who may be selling you old or fake MRE’s.
Knowing Exactly where they came from: We have heard of some military MREs that have sat in war zones for months or years before making their way on to Ebay. Who wants to eat something that’s been laying around in the desert for the last year? Even the best MRE’s are going to be effected by the harsh heat of the desert.
The U.S. Army’s NATIC Research Laboratories have done numerous tests on the shelf life of MRE’s. They found that when exposed to heat over 100 degrees they lasted less than two years while MRE’s stored at around 70 degrees were good for at least 100 months.
Knowing What’s on them: A lot of crazy stuff happens in war zones, including the use of some pretty nasty chemicals that can stick to everything. I don’t know about you, but after seeing all the people come back from Iraq with mysterious illnesses during Desert Storm, I tend to think that eating something that’s been sitting over there may not be so safe.
Quality Issues: The quality of everything the military gets is usually dependent on how some special interest group who won a no-bid contract for that item. In fact, the quality of a lot of equipment and military gear has gotten so bad over the years that many service members have been forced to buy there own gear. The sad truth is the government treats the military like crap. I just don’t trust them enough to believe that the MRE’s are any better than the civilian version. Civilian MRE companies have to worry abut lawsuits from unsafe products; the military doesn’t.
Counterfeit MRE’: Much of what you find online is complete garbage, and many of the so-called military MREs that are sold online are actually bad counterfeits from China. Personally, I wouldn’t trust someone on EBAY or some thrown together website with my emergency food supplies!
What about real Military MREs, how long do they last?
As long as your MRE’s are not damaged in any way (swelling, punctured, ripped, etc…) then they should last for a long time.
The Army’s Natick Research Laboratories tests indicate that MRE’s from the early 80′s and 90′s stored below 60 degrees have a shelf life of about 130 months. The newer MREs now have a significantly shorter shelf life and will last for about 60 months at 60 degrees – this is what happens when cronyism takes the place of actually carrying about the quality of our military’s supplies. Any fluctuation in storage temperature can and will affect the shelf life of your MREs. For instance the same MRE stored at 100 degrees has a shelf life of about 6 months.
List of the Top Civilian MRE’s
- Sure-Pak 12 Military Ready To Eat Complete Meals These are one of the Top MRE’s on the market and probably the closest to actual military MRE’s
- Mountain House #10 Can Freeze-Dried Food
- Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit
- 2400 Calorie ER Bar – Emergency Food Ration (4 Pack)
- Mainstay Emergency Food Rations – Case of 10 Packs