They must be able to stand up to abuse tests such as obstacle course traversal in field clothing pockets; storage outdoors anywhere in the world; shipping under extremely rough circumstances (such as by truck over rocky terrain); 100% survival of parachute drops; 75% survival from free failure drops; severe repetitive vibration (1 hour at G vibration); 7,920 individual pouch drops from 20 inches; and individual pouches being subject to a static load of 200 pounds for three minutes.
Freezing an MRE pouch does not destroy the food inside, but repeated freezing increases the chance that the stretching and stressing of the pouch will cause a break on a layer of the laminated pouch.
These pouches are made to withstand 1,000 flexes, but repetitive freezing does increase the failure rate by a small fraction of a percent. For example, storage at 100° for 11 months then moved to storage at 70° would lose one-half of the 70° storage life.
Also avoid fluctuating temperatures, in and out of freezing levels.
Space Program, Military, Forest Service, and FEMA have used MREs since the 1970s.
Some of the best information available on MRE shelf life is the storage life chart (see below) compiled by the U. Their opinions were combined to determine when the MRE ration was no longer acceptable.
Due to the cumulative effect of time and temperature, a regular rotation of MRE’s within 5 to 7 years is recommended.
This label/date enables you to easily track the shelf life of your MREs.
If the meals are stored at a temperature of 80 degrees F/26.7 degrees C the current shelf life chart shows they will last a minimum of 36 months.
The lower the storage temperature, the longer the shelf life.
You can go to the manufacturer website and click on the link across the top titled MRE MEALS.
This shelf life chart was designed by the US Army research and development center (NATICK) using a taste panel made up of “average” people, which were actually office personnel working at NATICK.
Your MRE cases will have a label with the manufacturing date on it.