The packaging date will be shown on the information label, which is on the outside of every case of MRE STAR meals.This label/date enables you to easily track the shelf life of your MREs.In 1966, this led to the Long Range Patrol, or LRP ration, a dehydrated meal stored in a waterproof canvas pouch.
While MREs should be kept cool, they do not need to be refrigerated. Later, self-contained kits were issued as a whole ration and contained canned meat, bread, coffee, sugar and salt.
Their opinions – based solely on taste – were combined to determine when a particular component, or in this case the entire MRE ration, was no longer acceptable.
If your MRE Complete Meal Unit (“Unit”) is over the shelf life date, then they cannot be thoroughly relied upon to taste “fresh”, however NATICK determined that while there may be a degradation of taste and flavor, the nutritional content and basic product safety would extend much further.
However, cost-cutting measures by Quartermaster Command officials during the latter part of World War II and the Korean War again saw the predominance of heavy canned C rations issued to troops, regardless of operating environment or mission.
After repeated experiences with providing prepared rations to soldiers dating from before World War II, Pentagon officials ultimately realized that simply providing a nutritionally balanced meal in the field was not adequate.
We had some 30-year-old MREs tested at a food lab to make sure old MREs are safe to eat while still maintaining their nutrients.