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What Are Meals Ready To Eat?

Jul 17, 2008
As the name implies, meals ready to eat (MRE) are foods that are already available for consumption. Big deal, you say, as pizza or any other type of takeout is a "meal ready to eat". However, these are packaged food designed to have a long shelf life. They are also designed to require very little preparation work. Therefore, these meals are perfect for emergency survival preparation such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. These rations will be able to sustain individuals for a period of time until longterm relief aid comes.

The term "meals ready to eat" certainly seems generic enough and only implies that food has already been prepared. However, as already discussed, there's a longevity period associated with MREs. It is meant to have a shelf life of a couple of years. The packages also have good nutritional value. Easy portability is another factor. In fact, campers, backpackers and hikers take MREs on camping trips due to all the above mentioned benefits. Therefore, one could say that if any meal meets the connotation of survival or emergency preparedness food, then it can be considered an MRE. The term has certainly been generalized but for a true definition, we have to refer to the US military.

The term meal, ready to eat was actually coined by the US military to provide their servicemen and women adequate nutrition during combat or field work. Therefore, MREs packaged for the US government uphold strict requirements. Each package is to provide approximately 1200 calories and weigh between 380 - 510 grams. Each package can also survive parachute drops and extreme fluctuations in temperature. That is what is meant by a "military meal ready to eat".

Obviously, for civilian purposes, one does not need these stringent requirements in their pre-packaged food. However, you can get these rations from the same suppliers to the US government but for civilian purposes. The packaging will be different but in essence, it's the same food meant for emergency survival.

Stocking up on canned goods, packaged food and bottled water is never a bad idea. We've seen the devastation that mother nature can unleash and you always want to be prepared for natural disasters. Survival food also comes in handy for spontaneous weekend getaways on camping and hiking trips as well. Just remember to take out the soon to expire food and replenish them with new packages.

Do yourself a favor and get your emergency survival plan in gear now.
About the Author
Mariam Ma is a freelance writer for Silverman Village, where you can find such emergency disaster preparation supplies as civilian MRE rations and personal camping water filter bottles .
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