Acronym for Meal, Ready-to-Eat, a self-contained field ration in lightweight packaging for use in combat, emergency, or other field conditions where normal food facilities are not available. There are thousands of different types of MREs from civilian and official sources in different countries and for different purposes, but a typical commonality is that they pack a large amount of calories for their weight.

The U.S. Army Soldier System Center (SSC) states that “The MRE’s shelf life is three years at 80 degrees F and six months at 100 degrees F,” but MRE shelf life can be extended up to ten years or even more if stored properly. Steve1989 who reviews MREs on his YouTube channel regularly eats 50+ years old MREs — sometimes they are even tasty! To achieve optimal shelf life, storage temperature should not exceed 60 F° (16 C°) and meals should not be stored at temperatures below 30oF (-1 C°) as frozen packaging can result in broken seals and leading to to extremely fast shelf life expiration.

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