How Long does MRE last?

Last Updated on July 2, 2022 by admin

MRE or “Meal Ready to Eat” constitutes food supply rations that have comprehensive food supplies within the package that one can consume during emergencies.  In the event that disaster or uncertainties strike, an MRE becomes handy and it can be your savior when you cannot access regular supplies of food. 

A single MRE is said to represent one meal so three MREs per day can satisfy your daily meals especially if you are in the army. However, the pertinent question that you may need to ask is: “How long does MRE last?” As such, keep on reading this guide since it gives you insight into factors that can affect the lifespan of an MRE. 

Life Span of an MRE

But how long do mres last? The lifespan of an MRE is not fixed since it can be anything between one month and 10 years depending on a number of factors. Essentially, the way an MRE is stored determines its lifespan since it is sensitive to aspects like temperature. The packages are easy to open but once opened, the contents should be consumed forthwith especially if you are in the jungle. 

Storage and durability of MRE

The storage temperature of an MRE determines its lifespan and how long do mres last. For instance, the expiration date of an MRE that is stored at room temperature of about 49° C degrees Celcius (or 120° F) can last for about one month only. When you lower the temperature to about 10 degrees Celsius (or 50° F), then the MRE can last up to more than 5 years. 

How Long Does MRE Last

However, you should know that this timeframe your MRE can last depends on constant maintenance of the storage temperature of 75° F during those 5 years that it will last. It follows that higher temperatures reduce the shelf-life of the MRE while lower temperatures can help extend the lifespan of the MRE.  

It is also imperative to know that fluctuations in temperature can affect the quality of the MRE. For example, you start off your MRE in a temperature of 90° F then shift it to 75° F, it may not be good for the next 5 years. It is important to maintain the temperature at a constant level. 

You can also check the diagrams that can give you insight into the mre shelf life depending on the temperature. It is possible that some MREs can even last up to 10 years if kept in colder conditions. The most important thing that you should be watchful about pertains to maintaining your MRE at a lower but constant temperature to increase the longevity of the shelf life. 

What Are the Best Storage Practices of MREs?

The longevity of your mre shelf life depends on a number of factors. The modern meal ready to eat – MREs have a long lifespan and you can use them at a later stage. It is important to ensure that there is no damaged component of the MRE to increase its longevity.  

Freshness and quality

If the packaging is damaged, then it can affect the freshness and quality of the components inside. The MRE can retain its quality and freshness if it is stored properly. However, some people believe that the quality of the MRE can deteriorate over time even if nothing is damaged. Keeping the MRE over an extended period can result in its nutritional value dissipating.  


Freezing the MRE can significantly help increase its lifespan but this is not the best option to take. The layering of the packaging of the MRE may not be suitable to sustain the frozen condition. In some cases, power outages can lead to temperature loses which results in fluctuations of the desired constant temperature. 

As a result, the packaging and mre shelf life can get damaged which results in the MRE losing its preservation. Therefore, storing your MREs in a cool and dry place is the best way forward to retain them in great quality. You should also check that the fluctuation of seasonal temperature is not very high since it can affect the quality of the MREs. 

If you want to achieve the lifespan of five years for your MREs, make sure that you store them in a place where temperature hardly exceeds 75° F. All the same, experts argue that as long as the MREs are properly stored, they may not lose their nutritional value. It is however important to constantly replace your MREs to ensure that they retain their quality and freshness. 

When You Can Replace Your MREs

There should be a time that you should replace your MREs no matter how great you try to store them. You should consider changing your old mre in the event of the following factors. 

  • When the MREs have been stored under conditions with extreme temperatures
  • If the packaging is swollen or damaged, consider changing the old mre
  • It is recommended to change the meal ready to eat – MREs after five years though you can extend the period up to ten years. You should be guided by the manufacture date. 
  • Always make sure that the time-temperature indicator on the center is lighter than the outer ring
  • If you want to ensure your nutritional health and you are not sure if the MRE is still good to eat, you should better not use more than a 10 year old MREs.

How Long Does MRE Last

You should be prepared for anything and replace the MREs when you feel that it is about time you do so. You can find that the MREs can even last longer than the anticipated five years but to be safe, you must get new supplies especially when you are not in an emergency situation or if the shelf life is over. 


An MRE consists of a comprehensive package of food supplies that you can use during periods of emergencies. In the event that disaster strikes or you have no access to a regular supply of food, then you can turn to your MRE. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. If you have any comments about the meals ready to eat, the storage conditions, and if they are safe to eat, feel free to post it below.  

To retain the greatness of your MREs, you just need to ensure that you maintain the storage temperature at the desired level. To achieve a shelf life of about five years for your MREs, you must make sure that the storage temperature does not exceed 75° F. It is also vital to ensure that the packaging is not damaged to ensure that your MREs can last a long time in good quality.