MRE Meal Ready to Eat - Emergency Food Rations, What Are They, Where to Buy and How to Store

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MRE Meal Ready to Eat - Emergency Rations, What are They, Where to Buy and How to Store

MRE stands for a Meal Ready to Eat and are often associated with military rations or the old K rations. MRE online stores are popping up everywhere and there is an increased interest in them due to recent disasters in the news.

The purpose of the MRE is to provide short term food and nutrition for yourself and your family in a disaster. These meals are not intended to replace long term bulk food storage and they are not very economical. Purchasing MREs as long term bulk food storage to use during financial hardship would not be the best choice.

What is in an MRE

An MRE contains everything you need for one day of food for one person. A typical MRE will include:

  • An entrée in one pouch
  • A side dish
  • Two or three small snacks each in their own pouch
  • One or two small desserts or sweets each in their own pouch
  • Drink Mix
  • Condiments and utensils in one pouch
  • Heat pouch for heating foods (they are available without heaters too)

Storing MREs

Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) emergency rations will store 5 years minimum and some claim that they can be stored up to 10 years. The standard recommendation is 5 to 7 years at room temperature and longer if stored below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

MREs do not expire nor do they have an expiration date. They have a manufacturer’s date so you can tell when they were made. This will help you to judge the likelihood of the freshness. They will loose nutrition and flavor over time. If the package is punctured then of course there is a chance that the meal has been contaminated and rendered inedible.

The manufacturer’s date is expressed as a four or five digit number starting with the year and then the day. For example: 11171 would be 2011, on day 171 of that year - so it would be roughly late May by just dividing 171 by 30 days.

Where to Buy Meal Ready to Eat Supplies

Your best source for purchasing MREs is online. Many online resources offer low cost or even free shipping so be sure to include shipping and handling as well as turnaround time in your purchase decisions.

MREinfo is an excellent website to use for comparison of products, links to supplier, preparedness sites, product information and history.

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Civilian brand MREs:

  • Ameriqual APack
  • MRE Star
  • EverSafe
  • Sopakco Sure-Pak 12
  • Menu C MRE

Extras to Include

There are many things that are not included in your MRE packs that you may want to include in a grab and go pack.

  • Electrolyte replacement mix
  • Emergency high calorie, high nutrition food ration bars
  • Personal products pack
  • Matches or flint striker
  • Extended shelf life canned water
  • First Aid kit

Keep in mind that these products are appropriate for emergency situations of relatively short duration. This is not the same preparation that you might have in place for long term hardship situations. This is good preparation to have in place until you can access other food stores or rescue operations are in place. MREs are not inexpensive so it is important for families who are concerned about food emergencies and preparedness to have additional plans in place for disaster or hardship.

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carol roach
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Posted on Mar 18, 2011