How Long Do Military MREs Last? How to Store MREs to Maximise Shelf Life? Top Full Guide 2022

How Long Do Military MREs Last: Top Full Guide

Many factors can affect how long do military MREs last? MREs are typically designed to last for up to three years. However, it is important to note that the actual shelf life will vary depending on several factors, including storage conditions.

MRE Meals & Their Shelf Life | Survival & Preparedness

MRE Meals & Their Shelf Life Survival & PreparednessMRE Meals & Their Shelf Life Survival & Preparedness

what is the shelf life of an mre? We are all aware that an emergency scenario might strike at any moment. That is why it is critical to always have food on hand that you can grab and consume. When a large-scale emergency occurs, you won’t be able to go to the shop since it will most likely be closed, and the streets will be chaotic.

Because your electricity will be off, the food in your refrigerator will deteriorate soon. You and your family will be hungry if you don’t have food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. You might go for days or even weeks without eating. You can safeguard yourself and your family from unforeseen catastrophes by stockpiling MREs. These ready-to-eat meals are ideal for those living in storm and earthquake zones.

MREs, or ready-to-eat meals, are military field rations gaining popularity for disaster preparation. MREs are designed for military use, provide food in sealed containers lighter than a can, and withstand strong drops and other impacts.

In the correct circumstances, these ready-to-eat meals may last for quite some time. They are perfect for keeping at home in an emergency or your car if your vehicle breaks down on a lengthy road trip. Purchasing MRE meals in bulk is an excellent option since they keep for a long time without needing to be refrigerated.

MREs are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. However, they are not indestructible. The longer they survive, the colder the storage condition. At 75°F, the typical MRE shelf life is five years. They can be preserved in colder settings for over a decade and still be safe to eat. However, if refrigerated at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, an MRE would only survive approximately a month.

How Long Do MREs Last After Inspection Date?

How Long do MREs last

MREs do not contain an expiry date. However, they are safe to consume for up to three years if refrigerated at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If kept at significantly lower temperatures, some or all of the contents may be safe for up to five years. If they are left to bake in the Texas sun, they may endure as little as one or two months.

The production date may not be very useful if you don’t know how long are MREs good for? Similarly, just because an MRE is a few months over its three-year expiration date does not indicate it is unsafe to consume.

More investigation may be required…

What Makes MREs Last So Long?

How Do You Know When to Replace Your MREs

It is not uncommon for canned veggies to stay edible for months or even years, but MREs last far further. They prepared meals such as spaghetti and meatballs, beef ravioli, and cheese tortellini.

MREs are still edible years after they were bought, even though meat and dairy components are not recognized for their long shelf life. What precisely makes this emergency food safe to consume after being stored for so long?

One reason MREs survive so long is because of their packaging. MRE kits are kept in airtight containers, preventing germs from entering and contaminating the meal before it is opened. It’s analogous to preserving food: when food is frozen, microbial development is inhibited, and food remains edible for extended periods.

Some individuals believe that MREs are loaded with chemicals and preservatives. While preservatives may be found in certain MREs, they are not as widespread as expected. Many MREs have no preservatives, notably Meal Kit Supply MREs, which have no preservatives.

MREs are also properly boiled before packaging to ensure that all bacteria are destroyed. Before being opened, the food is disinfected and packed to guarantee that it is germ-free. Because of these safeguards, MREs have a far longer shelf life than conventional food, and they may be stored unused in a cupboard or basement for years without rotting.

Finally, many MREs are high in salt. Salt is a natural disinfectant that kills bacteria by drawing water from their cells. It’s the same idea as gargling salt water to relieve a sore throat. The salt content in MREs keeps the meal safe and edible for far longer than conventional processed foods.

How Do You Know When to Replace Your MREs?

MREs, no matter how tough they are, do not last indefinitely. MREs should be replaced after five years, according to most experts. The longer they are stored, the worse the flavor and nutrients get, and certain items, such as cheese and peanut butter, may go bad despite sterilization and preservatives. How long do MREs last at room temperature? MREs should also be discarded if exposed to temperatures that might spoil the meal.

Many individuals consume ten to fifteen-year-old MREs. It’s not impossible, but eating MREs after five years may be dangerous. Contrary to common assumptions, it is not feasible to determine the safety of food-based just on its smell or sight.

Having a box of emergency food around may give you food sickness is pointless, so keep track of your MREs and know when it’s time to toss away an old packet.

Some manufacturers stamp the packaging with a “Julian Date” number that specifies the production date. Do MREs expire? This may be useful for assessing if a meal has expired. The first number of the code reflects the year it was packed, while the following three digits identify the day.

How to Store MREs to Maximise Shelf Life

How to Store MREs to Maximise Shelf Life

MREs aren’t inexpensive, so you want to ensure they last as long as possible, particularly if you’re not going to use them every day.

Purchase fresh cases of MREs to extend storage life. Getting a good bargain on used meals may seem like a good deal, but if you have to replace them in two years rather than five, you’ll be out of luck in the long term.

MREs, like other foods, should be kept in cool, dry places away from direct sunlight. Although they’re well-packaged and shouldn’t be harmed by water or appeal to rats, it’s best to keep them above the ground for safety.

It is not typically advised to freeze MREs. Freezing may harm the laminated bag, especially if the contents are repeatedly thawed and refrozen (e.g., if you have a power cut). However, freezing would lengthen the shelf life so that it may be worth the risk.

You don’t want to grab for your MREs in a crisis only to discover they’re four years old, so keep an eye on your supply and rotate meals out as required.

When Should MREs Be Used?

MREs should be used primarily in emergencies. While they are high in energy and nutrients, they are not intended to be consumed daily. MREs are ideal for emergencies such as fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other catastrophes when perishable food is in short supply.

Some campers and hikers carry MREs on their vacations since they don’t need to be refrigerated and provide enough vitamins and minerals to keep them energetic throughout the day.

Where Can I Buy MREs?

Where Can I Buy MREs

MREs may be purchased from various sources, from internet wholesalers to dodgy vendors. We always suggest purchasing from a reputable merchant. We’ve collected a list of the best locations to purchase MREs online to make things easier.

You may prepare your MREs if you’re on a tight budget, have a specific diet, or want to know precisely what’s in your meal. Instructions for preparing your own survival MREs may be found in our guide. Also, remember that MREs are only appropriate for a short-term emergency – read Are MREs Safe?


FAQs about how long do military mres last

Can you eat a 20-year-old MRE?

Many MRE users have reported being able to consume MREs that were ten or more (in some instances, almost twenty) years old, albeit the flavor wasn’t very memorable. Because MREs are essentially emergency meals, you’re unlikely to consume them for flavor.

Are expired MRE safe to eat?

At 75°F, the typical MRE shelf life is five years. They can be preserved in colder settings for over a decade and still be safe to eat. However, if refrigerated at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, an MRE would only survive approximately a month. The date on an MRE is an “inspection date,” not an expiration date.

What MREs last the longest?

The emergency food choices are among the greatest MRE shelf life alternatives with exceptional quality. The food is freeze-dried, may survive up to 30 years, and is intended to last three days.

Can you freeze MRE?

However, it should not be frozen. When your MREs freeze, the packaging may crack. This is particularly true with repeated freezing and unfreezing of MREs since the expanding and shrinking of the contents may cause pouches to fail. If possible, avoid freezing MREs.

Do emergency food rations expire?

The most common type of emergency food inside kits (including our own!) is called ‘food ration bars. ‘ These calorie-dense bars are baked and vacuum sealed to ensure they are safe to eat for at least 5 years. An expiration date is printed on the packaging for the most accurate information


After researching, military meals are ready to eat shelf life anywhere from 3 to 5 years when stored properly. However, it is always best to check with the manufacturer for more specific storage and shelf life information. Thanks for reading!

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