Are MREs Safe When SHTF?

Are MREs Safe When SHTF Image

Are MREs Safe When SHTF?


The question “are MREs safe when SHTF?” have popped up recently across my reading lists, and I thought to address it briefly. MREs are fully called “Meal, Ready-to-Eat.” They were introduced in 1981 by the US Department of Defense as replacements for canned “Meal, Combat, Individual rations.”

What Should I Know About MREs?


MREs are considered complete meals in a bug-out bag and are therefore very popular among preppers interested in stocking their “get home bags,” “bug-out bags,” pantries & stockpile. They are lightweight, meaning that you can carry a lot conveniently without breaking down. 

MREs last very long on the shelf and withstand harsh weather conditions for long. With time, their contents have been updated according to the needs & preferences of service members and technological advances. Currently, MREs come alongside FRH (Flameless Ration Heater), which helps to enjoy a hot meal without any fire. 

Courtesy of these features, MREs are common inclusions among preppers & survivalists planning for decades of off-the-grid sustenance.

Nutritional Value of MREs


Each MRE pack offers 1 200 calories if completely eaten and will remain nutritional for at least 21 days after it is opened. As it stands, there are 150 extra items & 24 entrees available in MREs. However, this is about all they contain.

MREs have zero dietary fiber, and this often leads to constipation. They are very rich in fats and salts, as they are made for people with agile lifestyles. 

What Will I Find In A Pack of MRE?


Each pack of MRE contains the following:

  • The main, which is simply the main course;
  • Side dish;
  • Snack or dessert — usually candy, Soldier Fuel Bar, first strike bar, and fortified pastry;
  • Spread of jelly, cheese, or peanut butter;
  • Dried coffee powder;
  • Mixture of powdered beverage — cocoa, sports drink, fruit-flavored drink, or dairy shake;
  • Flameless Ration Heater
  • Utensils — typically a complete set: spoon, fork & knife;
  • Beverage mixing sachet;
  • Accessories: waterproof matchbook, Xylitol chewing gum, moist towelette & toilet paper/napkin;
  • Seasonings — pepper, salt, creamer, sugar & Tabasco sauce.


The true value of MREs lies in the packaging. They are built to resist all elements and remain good even after a freefall of 98 FT. Their shelf life depends on storage conditions. At –60° F, they remain good only for 3–5 months; at 100° F, MREs last for nine months and; at 81° F, they last for 3½ years. There are currently plans to replace the present foil with zein to eliminate the issues of the previous packs.

Zero Flavor


Yes, MREs are unarguably the best foods to have when locked in or bugging out, but there’s a minor problem: they have Z-E-R-O taste or flavor.

So, while your survival is being safeguarded, as MREs fulfill your nutritional needs, there are high chances that you’ll rarely be eager for dinner. If I were to rate the tastiness of these foods over 10, I’d settle for 4.5. 

By the way, there are special packages (shellfish-free; kosher/Halal; vegetarian) for interested persons.

Conclusion: Are MREs Safe When SHTF?


MREs contain basic nutrients necessary for survival and healthy living as you hunker down. However, it is far from pleasant to taste; still, this doesn’t take away the fact that it is nutritious. So, to answer the question, “are MREs safe when SHTF?” I’ll be giving a resounding, yes! These tasteless foods pose no danger (except constipation if overeaten). Let’s hear from you. Have you tasted MREs before?