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Old 12-25-05, 04:33 PM   #1
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Do MREs have a shelf-life???

Can't find a date-code or anything on them...
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Old 12-25-05, 05:10 PM   #2
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5 years. My bestfriend is a Special Forces Marine.
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Old 12-25-05, 06:53 PM   #3
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Why are you eating that stuff?
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Old 12-25-05, 07:48 PM   #4
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I dunno about Danno but I love them. They are the greatest thing since sliced bread!
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Old 12-25-05, 07:48 PM   #5
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Is it 5 years? I still remember good ole C-Rats, some of which dated back to the Korean conflict during my 10 years in the Corps from the mid 70s - mid 80s.
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Old 12-25-05, 07:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeridinLoon
5 years. My bestfriend is a Special Forces Marine.
In other words he's Recon - don't diss him by calling him Special Forces.
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Old 12-26-05, 12:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeridinLoon
5 years. My bestfriend is a Special Forces Marine.
Wow ! Really? Pre-cooked, unrefridgerated food lasting 5-years, eh? They must have some heavy-duty chemicals and preservatives in them. No wonder those bodies coming back from Vietnam never rotted... and they blamed that on the Twinkies! HAH! It's the MREs!!!


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Originally Posted by Enthalpic
Why are you eating that stuff?
Well, I'm not eating them. The MREs are just for emergencies along with my stash of water and ammo. Figured they were the lesser of two evils: die from starvation or die from chemical poisoning. Just doing end-of-year inventory and cleaning up around the house. Figured they had to go bad at some point and should replaced with fresh stock. But I can't find any dates on them so knowing a lifespan of 5-years doesn't help because I have no idea when these were issued.

Maybe I'll crack one open and feed it to the neighbor's dog...
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Old 12-26-05, 12:46 AM   #8
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It depends on where you get them.
Directly from the military they're probably made a while ago and have 2-3 years of shelf life on em.
If they're MRE's made for civilians, they can last up to 10 years.

Are there any numbers at all on them?

You can also tell by the name. Some of the wording or the flavors themselves did not appear until certain dates.

Storage temperature plays a big role in how long they last. Unless the bag's punctured, its still edible past the expiration date but it'll just taste horrible. According to these guys, the storage lives given are for when they no longer taste good, not for when they can't be eaten anymore.

My neighbor left me a box of MRE's post Y2K and they were about 8 years old, tasted great.

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Old 12-26-05, 03:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
In other words he's Recon - don't diss him by calling him Special Forces.
Yeah, you're right. But I always figured Recon WAS the marines special forces?
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Old 12-26-05, 04:40 PM   #10
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Best place to purchase MRE's is in a military comissary (that's an on-base grocery store for the unwashed ) or get a friend or relative who's in the mil. to get some for ya.

My brother's ASAF and Shaw AFB is in town. Whenever he's visiting he usually makes a liquor run so he stops by the co-misery and picks me up anything I need..no sales tax, either, woo hoo!
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Old 12-26-05, 05:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeridinLoon
Yeah, you're right. But I always figured Recon WAS the marines special forces?
No, everyone else's special forces are just wannabe Marine Recon - cept for Seals, them guys just got into the wrong recruiting line.
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Old 12-26-05, 08:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
No, everyone else's special forces are just wannabe Marine Recon - cept for Seals, them guys just got into the wrong recruiting line.
He'll get a kick out of that.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:49 AM   #13
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Shelf life is a strange thing. I heard where hard tack that was stored in the 1850s was found in the 1990s and was still edible.

I recall working on a project in the U.P. We had some WWII lifeboat rations which consisted primarily of hard sugar candy and the hard sugar candy was still edible after 50 years.

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Old 12-27-05, 02:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pontificato
Best place to purchase MRE's is in a military comissary (that's an on-base grocery store for the unwashed ) or get a friend or relative who's in the mil. to get some for ya.

My brother's ASAF and Shaw AFB is in town. Whenever he's visiting he usually makes a liquor run so he stops by the co-misery and picks me up anything I need..no sales tax, either, woo hoo!
They don't sell MRE's in the commissary. I can promise you that. No matter who tells you they buy it at the commissary is full of it. MRE's are attained through what was once the Troop Support Agency. It is a totally different agency than the Defense Commissary Agency. The two are like oil and water, they don'd mix. Two different colors of money purchase the surplus. If you find MRE's on the civilian market, they are either military surplus (Joe sells them or trades them for something), or they are the ones that has already been pointed out...civilian market. After 23+ years in the miliatary (just retired 1 Oct) I can tell you that you military MRE's are the ones that Joe did not eat.

As for the original question, who cares about shelf life.
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Old 12-27-05, 03:22 PM   #15
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That's Mainly Recycled Excrement, right?
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Old 12-27-05, 04:31 PM   #16
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Ok, after doing some online research, I've found some more info. The ones I have look like this:
http://www.mreinfo.com/images/mre-ta...-pasta-200.jpg
which is the military version made by Wornick. It's got the "U.S. Government Property. Commercial Resale Is Unlawful." printing on the bottom. Wornick also makes the civilian-market stuff under the "Mil-Spec" label. Looks a little more snazzy:
http://www.mreinfo.com/images/wornick-mres-200.jpg

There's no date on the packaging anywhere, so I cracked one open. The individual packages inside do have date-codes on them. The one on the beef-enchilada package says 1159 which corresponds to the 159th day on 2001. So it's about 4.5-years old. Going by the storage-guides slvoid posted, my 70-degree storage should have them last about 8.3 years. So they should be good until the end of 2009 or so.

Just tried out the peanut-butter and crackers. Not bad, but then you can't really mess that up. Kinda like the stuff you get in the dorm cafeterias... definitely not up to 1-star or fast-food standards, but I think when the civil-war starts, I can survive on this stuff...

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 12-27-05 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 12-27-05, 07:52 PM   #17
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Clarifying a few things here:

1. Marine Corps does have a special forces unit under SOCOM as of last year. They are called MarSoc Det 1. They are primarily composed of former Force and Battalion recon Marines as well as a handful from other units in the communications and ANGLICO units. Nowadays, it's not so easy to clarify USMC Special Forces as Force Recon only.

2. Military Issue MRE's can be purchased through the DFAS system "on order" at most commissaries. If they have been obtained other than through the DoD supply system or the DFAS system, the expiration dates on any packaging should be considered suspect. Does this mean the military keeps all of their MRE's at the proper temperature for the proper time periods? No. Does this mean I wouldn't eat an MRE at any point? The only time I would consider an MRE unedible is if the packaging is starting to "bulge." If the packaging is starting to "inflate," stay away.

3. MRE peanut butter is a fantastic "on the go" and "cheap" power gel. Just don't expect to use the head any time soon. Conversely, MRE cheese with jalapeno is also a "cheap" power gel. However, expect to use the head regularly.

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Old 12-27-05, 08:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadVW
Clarifying a few things here:

1. Marine Corps does have a special forces unit under SOCOM as of last year. They are called MarSoc Det 1. They are primarily composed of former Force and Battalion recon Marines as well as a handful from other units in the communications and ANGLICO units. Nowadays, it's not so easy to clarify USMC Special Forces as Force Recon only.
You'd think my step-son could have told this old gunny that, but noooooo... Thanks.
How's Iwakuni these days? I don't suppose Hank's pizza place is still out in da ville, Hank probably croaked by now. How about the creamatorium? Hmmm, nothing like the smell of burning bodies while running the sea wall! Does the Exchange still rent them Benjo Bombers?
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Old 12-27-05, 08:28 PM   #19
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do they still come with a five pack of smokes?
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Old 12-27-05, 09:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadVW
3. MRE peanut butter is a fantastic "on the go" and "cheap" power gel. Just don't expect to use the head any time soon. Conversely, MRE cheese with jalapeno is also a "cheap" power gel. However, expect to use the head regularly.

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Thanks for the info. So if I eat one packet of peanut-butter and one packet of jalapeno cheese-spread, I have their side-effects balanced out for normal bowel movements?


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do they still come with a five pack of smokes?
Nope, looks like that's been substituted with a packet of Chiclets.
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Old 12-27-05, 10:28 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
How's Iwakuni these days? I don't suppose Hank's pizza place is still out in da ville, Hank probably croaked by now. How about the creamatorium? Hmmm, nothing like the smell of burning bodies while running the sea wall! Does the Exchange still rent them Benjo Bombers?
Iwakuni doesn't change much over the years - though the airfield will soon (3-4 years) be moved 3/4 mile further away from the mainland in the new landfill airport. No Hank's pizza, but I'd reckon most of the other places you would know are still here. Thursdays are the days for the creamatorium smell, but I stay away from the running unless'n I have to take the troops out for a run. The knees take to the biking a lot more and the cycling here can't be beat.

On another note - rumor mill and unconfirmed military legend says that the chiclets are laced with laxative to negate the constipation effects of the rest of the MRE. Can't confirm or deny this, but there ya have it.

PS - Stay away from the Jamaican Pork Chops. Nasty things, even the dogs in Iraq would avoid. They're being replaced now, so if you have a case with Pork Chops in it, you know you've got some older stuff.

VW
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Old 12-27-05, 10:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadVW
The knees take to the biking a lot more and the cycling here can't be beat.
No doubt, I spent the majority of my off-time riding all over the countryside, even up to Miyajima or Hiroshima, but Kintai when the cherry blossoms were blooming was always my favorite place. Semper Fi!
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Old 12-28-05, 02:33 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadVW
On another note - rumor mill and unconfirmed military legend says that the chiclets are laced with laxative to negate the constipation effects of the rest of the MRE. Can't confirm or deny this, but there ya have it.

PS - Stay away from the Jamaican Pork Chops. Nasty things, even the dogs in Iraq would avoid. They're being replaced now, so if you have a case with Pork Chops in it, you know you've got some older stuff.

VW
Hmm... I ate the Chiclets after the peanut-butter and crackers. Maybe they canceled each other out? So far no ill effects! I fed the enchiladas to the neighbor's dog to see what would happen. Figured I'd be on good terms with all the pets around here so that they'd come on command... I'd rather have fresh food rather than rely on MREs...
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Old 12-28-05, 12:44 PM   #24
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In airborne school whenever a marine got dropped i remember all the marines would drop with him. And the seals, they would sometimes dive into puddles of water. Crazy bastards. I was a serious couch potato when i went through and i probably only made it because of a mountain lieutenant who literally pushed my ass in the runs.

Ah those were the days.
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Old 12-29-05, 03:06 PM   #25
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Also by eating them you shouldn't have to crap for days. I know I could go 3-4 days without the bowls even budging but when you did it felt like you were squeezing sandpaper out your butt. I would rather eat bugs than MRE's. It's definitely falls in one of those "last thing on earth" categories. I know the German kids loved them and we could trade real food they had for some MRE's.
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