Military Surplus Mre Vs. Civilian Mre

Discussion in 'Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Food' started by SuperBugMan, Jul 18, 2017.

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  1. SuperBugMan

    SuperBugMan New Member
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    Hey guys,

    I've recently been looking into getting a survival plan going and I noticed there are two types of MRE I can purchase. I can either get the Civilian MRE meals for cheaper, or I can spend a bit much and grab some military surplus.

    Whats the difference? I noticed some of the Civilian ones lack a heat pack. I'm mainly concerned about the surplus MRE's being end of life. Last thing I would need is to get food poisoning.
     
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  2. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    I know this is an older thread but I can shed some light on info on the Military MREs.

    I do not know much about the Civilian MREs but there is a new government MRE that has been released for use in Hurricane zones recently. It is manufactured by the same companies that make the Military MREs but has more meal packs and a lighter content load in each MRE.
    These new government MREs designed to be handed out to the public have a main course, a drink mix, a lighter load of additions like salt and pepper but no sauces, no toilet paper, no matches, no side dish and each has a single Tootsie Roll. The come with 14 meal packs rather than the 12 meal packs in a military MRE and also do contain the chemical heaters. These new MREs come in a smae sized cardboard box but they have a green test printed on them.

    I can't help wonder if this was done for a few reasons like to cut down on the cost of the MREs given to the public, make them fit a two week period of use and remove Military MREs from public sale.
    Military MREs have been sold for a long time on Ebay and other places and because there was no law preventing civilian sale they have been allowed to sell them on Ebay and Craigslist and other places.
    Possibly also because it is very hard to say where the MRE came from when they hand the same exact MREs out to civilians in disaster zones that are handed out to troops in the field.


    As for the OP's question about the quality of surplus MREs one would be more likely to be poisoned by a civilian MRE than a military one. I have had surplus MREs that were more than 10 years beyond the "inspect date" that were still good. Some parts may degrade in taste but most of an MRE will remain good for many years if kept cool.

    I will say that military MREs are not the best food to store for long term survival but they do have a place in a diversified food storage stockpile. They are heavy in weight but could be a good for patrols, food to eat in a hunkered down location due to being able to heat meals with no fire needed and can supply one with a good calorie count and needed daily supplies all in a waterproof container. I have them in my food storage along with freeze dried, dehydrated and store bought and home canned food.

    They also are real good to sneak into theme parks to avoid the dreaded $60 pizza slice lunch in places like Disney World.
     
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  3. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    Here is a couple tips on getting the highest quality MREs if you are going to buy some.

    The Inspect date is NOT an expiration date. It is a date that the military will pull a sample case and open and inspect the quality.

    There is a red sticker on military MRE cases, it is a small square sticker with a red dot in the middle of it. This red dot should be red. If it is black this case of MRE has been in some extreme heat and should be avoided. It does not mean the food is bad but very well could be and the shelf life of that MRE is severely cut down.

    I never buy cases of MREs that have been opened. the menus may have been changed around.
    Each case of MRE should be glued shut with a very strong hot glue that is pretty hard to tear open.

    Menus are available online if you look for them. Each case should have 12 different MRE meal packs in it which should include 2 vegetarian MREs.

    (If you like sweets the vegetarian MREs have more sweets in them. This is because the calorie content was low so they added more sweets to bring up the calorie content.)

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    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
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  4. Morgan101

    Morgan101 Master Survivalist
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    How do they compare with commercial product like Mountain House or Weise Foods?

    Have you taste tested any? How do they compare cost wise?
     
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  5. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    I have eaten Mountain House and honestly the MRE is apples and Oranges in comparison. MRE is never going to taste as good as Freeze dried food. MRE is much heavier and really not suited to be a backpacking type of food. There are however pluses and minuses to both. There are a lot of commercial foods in MREs these days. For instance the Tuna meal has Chicken of the Sea Tuna in it. Right down to the Chicken of the Sea labeled package of tuna. The Beef Ravioli has a package of ravioli in it that I'm pretty sure is made by Chef Boy-ar-Dee. While it doesn't have the label it does taste like it. Freeze dried foods like Mountain House are much lighter in weight and are better to have in a backpack because of this and usually taste much better. The MRE though has everything that one might need for a day in it in one package including matches, toilet paper, spices, drink mix and chewing gum along with a full meal. One benefit of the MRE is that if you were forced to hunker down and hide in a hidey hole like lets say in a closet or under a bed you could have a hot meal without the need to start a fire. You could not likely do that with a freeze dried meal. The MRE utilizes a chemical heater that only needs a few cap fulls of water to activate. Each has it's place and it's use. I have both MREs and freeze dried stored. I will say though that the taste and meal choices in the cases of military MTREs has improved quite a bit over the years and have come a very long way from the old K-rations and C-rations and the dark packaged Viet Nam era MREs that my dad and older brother suffered with.

    As for cost I was buying my MREs from soldiers who came back from the field and had left over cases so I was getting them pretty cheap. If you buy them online or at a gun show the price is usually abut $5o to $60 per case which woks out to about $4 to $5 per meal pack. 12 different meal packs per case.

    Here is a link to the menus and more info on the military MRE.
    https://www.mreinfo.com/#

    MRE menus are here:
    https://www.mreinfo.com/mres/mre-menus/
     
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  6. Morgan101

    Morgan101 Master Survivalist
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    Thanks for the feedback. The price is certainly reasonable. I think Mountain House is usually twice the $4-$5.00 price. I do like meals that are ready to eat vs. meals that are ready to cook. The chemical heater will make things much easier, and they are more complete. Thanks for the links. I will check them out.
     
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  7. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    If you are located anywhere near a military base I suggest that you run an ad on craigslist and try to buy them from soldiers returning from the field. I used to get them at times for as little as $20 per case that way. Make sure you consider the inspect dates when buying and always check the red stickers on the cases. They are also sold on Ebay but shipping usually will push the prices up some.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Military-M...233666?hash=item2158f2e342:g:LlEAAOSwnwpcv2YX
     
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  8. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    Another MRE positive.
    If you have two cases of MRE under your bed or in a closet it could keep you alive for almost a month. Consider one MRE per day from the 24 different meal packs in two cases could possibly save your life for almost a full month. Not a bad thing for about $100.
     
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