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Meals & nutrition

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Zinovy Khokhlov
Zinovy Khokhlov

Where To Buy Military Food Rations

It is DLA Troop Support policy NOT to sell rations to individuals, whether members of the Armed Services or civilians. The Department of Defense regulations and DLA Troop Support policy permit the sale of rations to the following: U.S. military organizations, federal government-funded activities, activities empowered to perform a federal-government-legislated function, a DoD sponsored non-appropriated fund instrumentality, State Department sponsored employee commissary (CONUS and OCONUS), a foreign government when an authorized contractual relationship has been established, a federal government contractor, when the contract specifically provides for the purchase of stock fund items by the contractor and other entities when authorized by duly appointed officials. In some instances sales are only permitted to these entities if other conditions are met.

where to buy military food rations

The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) is a self-contained individual United States military ration used by the United States Armed Forces and Department of Defense (DoD). It is intended for use by American service members in combat or field conditions where other food is not available. MREs have also been distributed to civilians as humanitarian daily rations during natural disasters.[1]

The first American military ration established by a Congressional Resolution, during the Revolutionary War, consisted of enough food to feed a man for one day, mostly beef, peas, and rice.[3] During the Civil War, the U.S. military moved toward canned goods. Later, self-contained kits were issued as a whole ration and contained canned meat, bread, coffee, sugar and salt. During World War I, canned meats were replaced with lightweight preserved meats (salted or dried) to save weight and allow more rations to be carried by soldiers on foot. At the beginning of World War II, a number of new field rations were introduced, including the Mountain ration and the Jungle ration. Cost-cutting measures by Quartermaster Command officials during the latter part of World War II and the Korean War again saw the predominance of heavy canned C-rations issued to troops, regardless of operating environment or mission.[4] During World War II, over 100 million cans of Spam were sent to the Pacific.[5] The use of canned wet rations continued through the Vietnam War, with the improved MCI.

After repeated experiences with providing prepared rations to soldiers dating from before World War II, Pentagon officials ultimately realized that simply providing a nutritionally balanced meal in the field was not adequate. Service members in various geographic regions and combat situations often required different subsets of ingredients for food to be considered palatable over long periods. Catering to individual tastes and preferences would encourage service members to actually consume the whole ration and its nutrition. Most importantly, the use of specialized forces in extreme environments and the necessity of carrying increasingly heavy field loads while on foot during long missions required significantly lighter alternatives to standard canned wet rations.

In 1963, the DoD began developing the "Meal, Ready to Eat", a ration that would rely on modern food preparation and packaging technology to create a lighter replacement for the canned MCI. In 1966, this led to the Long Range Patrol, or LRP ration, a dehydrated meal stored in a waterproof canvas pouch. As with the Jungle ration, its expense compared to canned wet rations, as well as the costs of stocking and storing a specialized field ration, led to its limited usage and repeated attempts at discontinuance by Quartermaster Command officials.[4]

Most recently, MREs have been developed using the Dietary Reference Intake, created by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM indicated service members (who were classified as highly active men between the ages of 18 and 30) typically burn about 4,200 calories (kcal) a day, but tended to only consume about 2,400 calories a day during combat, entering a negative energy balance. This imbalance occurs when service members fail to consume full portions of their rations.[10] Although manipulations to the food items and distribution of macronutrients to help boost the amount of kilocalories per MRE have been made, more studies are showing many service members still do not meet today's standards of daily consumption, often trading and discarding portions of the ration.[11] Researchers continue to study the habits and eating preferences of service members, making constant changes that encourage service members to eat the entire meal and thus get full nutritional value.[11]

Each meal provides about 1,200 calories (5,000 kJ).[14] They are intended to be eaten for a maximum of 21 days (the assumption is that logistics units can provide fresh food rations by then), and have a minimum shelf life of three years (depending on storage conditions).[15]

As a result of earlier unauthorized sales to civilians, the Department of Defense requires that "U.S. Government Property, Commercial Resale is Unlawful" be printed on each case of MREs.[17] The warning is only intended for service members as there are no laws that forbid the resale of MREs by civilians.[18] Although the government has attempted to discourage sellers from selling MREs,[19] auction sites such as eBay have continued to allow auctions of the MREs because the Department of Defense has been unable to show them any regulations or laws specifically outlawing the practice. According to a spokesman for eBay, "until a law is passed saying you can't sell these things, we're not going to stop them from being sold on the site."[20] So while MREs are not prima facie contraband, the procurement and sale of MREs by military personnel for personal profit is illegal under the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 108.[21] As a result, MREs found for sale outside reputable vendors often fall into a grey market where the question of how it entered civilian hands (through theft/legitimate means) and/or its quality may be unknown.

An investigation done in 2006 for the US Government Accountability Office determined multiple instances where sellers on eBay may have improperly obtained MREs and sold them to the public for private gain.[17] As military MREs are procured at tax payers' expense, they are intended to be consumed by individuals from authorized organizations and activities. Consequently, "if military MREs are sold to the general public on eBay, then they are clearly not reaching their intended recipients and represent a waste of taxpayer dollars and possible criminal activity."[17] Further, MREs found on eBay are typically older and closer to their expiration date, having been sourced in "neighborhood yard sales" and "Marine base dumpsters."[17]

The cases are also stamped with the Inspection / Test Date, which is in the same format as the Packing Date (e.g., October 1994 would be rendered as "10/94"). Rations optimally must be kept in a cool, dry place during storage. If the rations are stored at 80 for 3 consecutive years, they would reach the end of their shelf life. They are often inspected by the U.S. Army veterinary food personnel and their shelf life may extend beyond the inspection test date.[29] Rations are discarded after five years.[citation needed]

The use of rations for noncombat environments has been questioned.[11][by whom?] While the nutritional requirements are suitable for a combat environment where servicemembers will burn many calories and lose much sodium through sweat, it has been provided as emergency food or even as a standard meal. The high-fat (averaging about 52 grams of fat, 5 grams trans fats) and high-salt content are less than ideal for sedentary situations.[citation needed] The HDR and TOTM account for this nutritional need.[citation needed]

The MRE has led to the creation of several similar field rations.Aircrew Build to Order Meal Module (ABOMM) are a special variant consisting of repacking existing MRE food elements into a form that provides military flight crews and tank operators with a meal designed to be eaten on the go or while operating their aircraft or ground vehicle without the use of utensils, and packaged for use in confined spaces.[43]

For servicemembers with strict religious dietary requirements, the military offers the specialized Meal, Religious, Kosher/Halal.[44] These are tailored to provide the same nutritional content, but will not contain offending ingredients.[45] The entrees come in distinct stylized packaging with a color picture of the prepared entree on it (like civilian pre-made meals) and the food accessories come in commercial packaging. Kosher entrees are marked "Glatt Kosher" in Hebrew and English, while halal entrees are marked "Dhabiha Halal" in Arabic and English. The meals come in cases of 12 that weigh 18 lbs (8 kg) and have a volume of 1.4 cubic feet (40 L). To keep with dietary laws, the entree and accessory packets are packed in two separate inner boxes in an outer case and come in kosher or halal only (the two special ration types are never mixed in a shipping case).

During operations, Soldiers often shift from eating their regular diets to eating military rations, particularly the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). The MRE contains similar amounts of carbohydrates, fat, protein and fiber as the average American diet, and the vitamin and mineral content is designed to meet Soldier nutritional requirements. However, unlike most diets, the MRE needs to withstand rough conditions and exposure to the elements while maintaining a three-year shelf life. As a result, commercially sterile, highly processed items and no fresh foods are used.

Dr. Phil Karl, the principal investigator, explained that the study's purpose was to understand how military rations interact with the gut microbiome and impact various measures of gut health like gut leakiness. To do this, the scientists wanted to separate the effects of the MRE diet from any other factors that could potentially affect the gut microbiome in a stressful operational environment. 041b061a72

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