How Old is That Meal, Ready-To-Eat (MRE)?


( – Meals, ready-to-eat (MRE) are a go-to staple for many preppers looking for long term, compact food storage options. Each package contains one meal, averaging 1,250 calories, that’s edible as is. If you’re unfamiliar with the packaging, however, you may be in for a rude surprise when you open it up…

To shed some light on how to determine exactly how old an MRE is, Prepper Action has provided the following video:

MRE’s don’t come with standard expiration dates in the same way most modern consumable products do. Rather than showing the expiration date, the package shows the date of the packaging (date code). MRE’s packaged before 2003 will not have a “made on” stamp. To determine the age of these, the bag must be opened and the internal contents examined for their individual date codes.

The numbers stamped onto the package, in order, provide the year the package was made and the specific day of the year. In the video, you can see the numbers 9016 on the MRE bag. This shows the MRE was made in 2009 (9) on January 16th (016). If you’re unsure the date you have found is correct, there’s an alternative way to determine the age of an MRE — type the date code into the converter on

Knowing how old your MREs are is important because MREs do have an expiration date, though it tends to vary based on the conditions in which they’re stored. For cooler temperatures, an MRE can last up to ten years. In 120 degree heat, however, they go bad in as little as a month.

Storage conditions are incredibly important when planning for long term survival — for MREs as well as other survival foods. To see where the best place to store food is, click here.

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