Exact Answer: 5 years
MREs in full are Meals Ready to Eat and are commonly used by individuals going for camping or hunting and soldiers in war. They are ideal for such events since they have a long shelf life and survive various environmental conditions. They are also light, meaning that you can carry large amounts of it at the moment. Lastly, MREs have a high nutritive value.
Though MRE’s have no specified expiry date, you should be keen on how you store them. Poor storage of MREs will result in faster spoilage reducing their shelf life. MREs stored in the right conditions have a prolonged shelf life.
How Long MREs Last After Inspection Date?
Most MREs have an estimated shelf life of 5 years. The shelf life of an MRE majorly depends on the storage temperature conditions. MREs stored in low temperatures are likely to stay in mint conditions for up to 10 years, while those stored in higher temperatures are edible for only a few months. You can quickly determine and MREs shelf life through the use of shelf life charts found on the internet.
Determining how long an MRE lasts depends on its taste and edibility over time. An MRE declines in nutritional value and flavor over time. An MRE will lose flavor and remain in good condition for human consumption. The quality makes it ideal for long term usage like in the military.
Most MRE consumers have found them edible even after 19-20 years when stored in the right conditions.
The period with which an MRE lasts also depends on the component. Desserts and entrees last longer compared to cheese products and apple sauce. MRE entrees will maintain their state and nutritive value even after a decade. Cheese, on the other hand, spoils very fast and will last for only a maximum of 5 years.
Why Does it Matter How MRE’s are Packaged?
MREs have a high shelf life since they are well-preserved. Their preservation includes;
- Dehydration to eliminate moisture that would otherwise provide suitable conditions for the growth of bacteria. Bacteria cause rotting of food; therefore, in their absence, food will last longer.
- Storage in Mylar bags; these bags prevent the entry of micro-organisms and attack by harsh climatic conditions. That’s why most MREs reduce in quality after the storage bag is damaged.
- They have a high sodium content, which provides unbearable conditions for bacterial growth.
- Sterilization and heating to remove all micro-organism that causes food spoilage. The two processes are done during the preparation process of the MREs.
How Long Do MREs Last Frozen
Exact Answer: 7-9 years
Note that all this will render an MRE suitable for consumption after inspection date for up to five years. After that, you can extend the period by ensuring that they get stored in low temperatures and that the bags are in mint condition.
Refrigerators may not be the best place to store your MREs since freezing and refreezing will cause spoilage of the preservation factor. It is essential to ensure that the MRE is in a cool, dry place with minimal fluctuation of temperatures. The optimum storage temperature of MREs is 75° F.