Support: October 29, 1999


The Army keeps about a dozen MRE flavors in production all the time, adding one or more each year or so to replace older ones. They also try more MREs than they actually put into production; the recent experiment with fried catfish MREs flopped when troops complained that the fish was mushy and tasted like sour milk. The chicken stew, ham slices, tuna with noodles, and pork chow mein MREs are out of production although they will still be in warehouses for years. New ones now in production include seafood jambalaya, burrito, meatloaf, and beef teriyaki. Because of the need for war stock reserves, the military keeps about three times as many MREs in warehouses as it actually consumes in a peacetime year. With so many troops overseas on missions and eating more MREs, this has declined to about a two year supply at the current rate of consumption.--Stephen V Cole

The US Army is experimenting with new "Group MREs" and expects to put them into use. The meals, by Ameriqual Package, are designed to feed 50 soldiers rather than just one. They would be delivered to a mess tent where cooks would prepare the food in about 3 hours, providing the troops with a "cooked meal" without the current handling problems with "A rations" (i.e., fresh food). Ameriqual is working up 5 breakfast and 10 dinner menus, including eggs, waffles, sliced turkey, steak, and spaghetti. Troops involved in tests have found the food nearly equal to that of mess halls and vastly superior to taking an individual MRE and finding a tree to lean against.--Stephen V Cole


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