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#2269 - 10/24/01 12:44 AM MREs vs. Canned Food?

I would appreciate any insight you folks might have concerning miltary MREs vs. canned foods for a long-term, home-bound scenario. <br><br>Right now I have the usual assortment of grocery store canned goods, but it gets to be a PITA keeping up with freshness dates and expirations. (Yeah, OK, I'm a slug!)<br><br>I've seen MREs for sale on eBay for about $68 a case. They seem to have a shelf life of 3-5 years. Nitrogen-packed canned foods/grains seem to have a much longer shelf life of around 7 years or even more - if what I've read is accurate.<br><br>Perhaps I should just have some of them all?<br><br>I would appreciate some guidance! Thanks -<br><br>

#2270 - 10/24/01 04:13 AM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
MRE's (aka meals rarely edible) are excellent long term supplies if; a. they are bought fresh b. stored properly c. palatable. It is actually illegal to sell MRE's. The makers conveniently make production overruns for civilian sale. These lack the accessory packs. Your best bet is to buy a variety pack and sample a few. Canned foods are heavy, but that is not so much a problem in a home situation. You at least have the advantage of familiar food. A third option are the large dehydrated #5 cans. They are very inexpensive ( excluding freight charges if purchased at a distance), but utilising large quantities of split peas can lead to waste and spoilage. Other options are the various bulk food co-ops and restaurant supply stores, and the L.D.S. ( Mormon) church maintains stores for bulk foods. They have a tradition of every family storing two years in foodstuffs. If you have any mormon friends ask their advise.

#2271 - 10/24/01 04:46 AM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?

One word of caution regarding MRE use at home. <br><br>THE FUMES PRODUCED BY THE MRE HEATERS ARE TOXIC AND FLAMABLE<br><br>Do not use them in a sealed area! At least open a few windows. <br>It took the military about three meals to figure out that you can make an "MRE bomb" with those things. I'd hate to see that happen accidentally to you! :)<br><br>Also check out www.beprepared.com for food supplies.

#2272 - 10/24/01 11:45 AM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?

I did a lot of research on MREs in the past few years, and have some articles stored- probably more than most people here want to know about them, and maybe more than you want to.<br><br>The advantages of MREs in general are longish shelf life, convenience, portabllity, taste (say what you want, they’re a LOT better than the old C-rats), and fairly balanced nutrition- with emphasis on convenience. Disadvantages are expense, and they tend to be high in calories, fat, and sodium.<br><br>The useful shelf life is a slippery subject. As Chris points out, the useful life is measured from manufacture date, not purchase date, so it’s important to know how old they are when you buy them. After that, the temperature that they’re stored at, and the consistency of the temperature, are the important keys. The lower and more consistent the better. At 70 degrees F, you can probably figure on at least 5 years- at 60 degrees, maybe twice that, but it diminishes pretty rapidly as the temperature goes up.<br><br>It’s hard to get real data on the shelf life, because, as far as I’ve been able to determine, the military only tested them to the point where they felt that there was a noticeable deterioration in taste. At that point, there was no real evidence of loss of nutritional value, and none at all of “spoilage”. Chances are that they have survival value long beyond their rated shelf life.<br><br>They’re probably not going to last as long as nitrogen-packed canned grains, dried beans, and that sort of thing, and they are certainly more expensive. On the other hand, living on grains and dried legumes, you can spend half of your life in the preparation of food, there’s not much variety, and you may have trouble maintaining a nutritional balance. You may not have that much time to spend. MREs will certainly last a lot longer than some canned foods- possibly canned meats, certainly fruits and tomatoes, acidic foods like that.<br><br>Keep in mind that MREs are apt to be a whole lot more useful than stored grains and such if you have to bug out. I can't imagine trying to grind wheat and make bread on the move.<br><br>Chris is right again in saying that you can’t legally get “real” MREs anymore, and I wouldn’t trust them anymore if you could. Sorry to say, every year the “civilian” versions seem to deviate more and more from the real military versions, but at least the entrees are the same, and the desserts are “real”, though they tend to not have the variety in a case of civilian MREs that they do in a case of military MREs.. often an entire production run seems to have just one dessert. Generally, the most common highly regarded “civilian” make is SOPAKCO, and the top model is the “Sure-Pak II”. The “M-Packed II” model is the same, but with only half the desserts and side dishes (6 per case of 12), so know what you’re paying for. There have been more manufacturers showing up lately, they may be better or worse, haven't looked into it.<br><br>You’re looking at paying way too much for these, though- even just before the Y2k fizzle I was paying between $36-38 a case, in lots of 5 or 6 cases. <br><br>Let me know if you have specific questions. I'd store a mix of things.. I do store a mix of things.<br>

#2273 - 10/24/01 01:26 PM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?

If you are interested in large quantities of MRE's, try this source: http://www.millog.com/pn-w229.htm. They sell bulk. In my opinion, food that you eat every day will not go bad in storage. If you store canned food, eat it and rotate in fresh stuff. The same thing goes for bulk grain and dried items. You must use it to know how to use it in a pinch. Your GI tract will also require a break in. If you just want to keep something around in case, I would keep MRE's...if I could afford the price.<br>Anyone that complains about MRE's has never enjoyed a C-ration.

#2274 - 10/24/01 02:07 PM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
>>>These lack the accessory packs. <br><br>What's in the accessory pack?
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

#2275 - 10/24/01 02:38 PM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?

Toilette paper, wet naps, matches, Tabasco, coffee, tea, sugar, salt, pepper, Chickletts.

#2276 - 10/24/01 02:52 PM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?

The source than I listed includes those items.<br>

#2277 - 10/24/01 05:53 PM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Just kidding about MRE's! 1975 lifeboat exercises: Im staring at a water can dated 1963 and a c ration that had a WW2 victory slogan on the wrapper. My Chief was pulling beef jerkey and M&Ms from his P-coat while emulating Spencer Tracey. I looked like Cecil the sea sick sea serpent!

#2278 - 10/24/01 05:55 PM Re: MREs vs. Canned Food?

Folks,<br>Thanks for all the incredible info and advice! I've decided to get some MREs and canned goods for the at-home scenario. I'll probably take a pass on the nitrogen-packed whole grains. I don't have a clue how to make the grain into flour and (worse) I just don't have the time to learn right now.<br><br>Thanks again for the good gouge.....<br><br><br><br>

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