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Freeze Dried Food vs MREs

In 1963, the Department of Defense began developing the "Meal, Ready to Eat", a ration that would rely on modern food preparation and packaging technology to create a lighter replacement for the canned Meal, Combat, Individual ration.

Today, servicemembers can choose from up to 24 entrées, and more than 150 additional items. In 1992, a Flameless Ration Heater (FRH), a water-activated exothermic reaction product that emits heat, allowed a servicemember in the field to enjoy a hot meal.

Packaging requirements are strict. MREs must be able to withstand parachute drops from 380 metres (1,250 ft), and non-parachute drops of 30 metres (98 ft). The packaging is required to maintain a minimum shelf life of three and a half years at 27 °C (81 °F), nine months at 38 °C (100 °F), and short durations from -51 °C (-59.8 °F) to 49 °C (120 °F) must be sustainable.

Each MRE weighs 18 to 26 ounces (510 to 740 g), depending on the menu. Since MREs contain water, they weigh more than freeze-dried meals providing equivalent calories.



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