Support: July 11, 2002

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To save money and improve efficiency, the Marines are changing the way they feed their personnel inside the US. Currently, there are 55 mess halls, some of which are operated under 11 contracts by nine civilian contractors. Under the new system, all 55 will be under two regional contracts. This will send 592 Marines out of the food preparation and service business and back to the foxholes, and will save money as well. Camp Lejeune has 13 mess halls, all of which serve the same 28-day rotating menu. All use the "cook-serve" system wherein food is prepared and then served. The new system will use centralized "cook-chill" technology. Under this system, huge quantities of food are prepared in central facilities at very high temperatures (to kill bacteria) and then chilled to near freezing and vacuum-sealed. The food can be stored for 45 days. (Nobody realizes it, but a lot of restaurant and theme park meals were prepared in factories, not kitchens, up to 45 days earlier than they were re-heated and consumed.)--Stephen V Cole

 


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