MREs, or Meals Ready-to-Eat, is a common type of food given to soldiers in the United States while they are deployed. But can they take these MREs on planes with them?
MREs can be taken on flights. However, some airlines will not allow them in your carry-on because of the chemicals that are included in the heating element of the MRE. If the MREs are still sealed, they will be allowed in checked baggage.
However, many airlines may have different policies than other airlines when it comes to MREs on their flights.
What To Do Before Travelling With MREs
If you plan on traveling and plan on having MREs with you, then check the rules that the airline that you are travelling with has that are related to MREs. Most airlines allow them in your checked bags, but they will not allow them in your carry-on bag because of the chemicals that are in the heating element that is in the package of the MRE.
If the airline that you are traveling with does not allow MREs in any type of baggage, contact your commanding officer and ask them if you will be supplied with MREs upon arrival to your destination or at any point after you land.
If you are a civilian traveling with MREs, these circumstances still apply to you and the people who you are travelling with. However, civilian MREs are slightly different than military MREs, so make sure that the airline that you are flying with allows all forms of MREs before packing them in your suitcase.
What Are MREs?
MREs are vacuum-sealed, high calorie meals that are given to United States soldiers. Most first-world countries have a system of feeding their soldiers like the United States MREs, but the United States military has one of the most advanced MRE systems.
MREs are cooked, vacuum-sealed, boiled, and then sealed again in a tough, flat plastic packaging. They are made to be lightweight, waterproof, and flexible, so it is easy for a soldier to fit them in their pack.
MREs do not just include full meals. While the meals themselves are made to be high in calories and long-lasting in order to keep soldiers full for a long time, there are also snacks, high-calorie gel packets, desserts, protein shakes, and crackers included in each MRE package.
However, the options included in the MRE will vary depending on what MRE you receive, and how long a soldier will be deployed for. It will also depend on where a soldier is deployed.
How To Heat Up An MRE
In order to heat up the MRE, you need to either boil it in hot water or fill up the separate pouch with water to the fill line, seal it, and then wait the recommended amount of time before opening the pouch again.
It should only take around 10 minutes for the MRE to become warm enough to eat, but it does matter what food and the type of MRE you are heating up in terms of time length. It can be eaten cold because they are boiled after they are sealed, so no harmful bacteria can get in.
How Many MREs Are In A Pack?
There are 12 MREs per box, depending on the package receive. There are packages with 24 MREs, and some packages have even more than that, but most people who order MREs outside of the military order the package of 12. The amount of MREs that are given to soldiers while they are deployed will depend on how long they will be deployed and what kind of environment they will be in. It will also vary depending on whether or not the soldiers will have an opportunity to receive more supplies while they are deployed.
How Is An MRE Preserved?
The MRE is preserved in a packaging that is officially known as a tri-laminate retort pouch. Contrary to popular belief, they are not freeze-dried. MREs are essentially a flat, waterproof pouch made out of multiple layers of foil and plastic.
After the food that is put into an MRE is cooked and cooled, it is vacuum-sealed and boiled. The boiling process kills any harmful bacteria in the food that could cause someone to become sick.
Once the MRE is boiled and cooled, it is sealed in the labelled pouch with the snacks, dessert, and eating utensils. After the MRE is packaged, then it is put into a box and sent off to where it is supposed to go, where it will be issued to the soldiers as necessary.
How Long Does An MRE Last?
MREs can last up to 10 years. However, they will only last that long if they are stored in the right conditions. If they are stored at temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, they can last for 10 years.
If you store them at 80 degrees or lower, then they last for around 3 years, but they can sometimes last longer than that in 80 degree weather. Also, even though MREs are made to withstand extreme conditions, if an MRE is stored at 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it will only last for six months.
How Do I Know If An MRE Has Expired?
If the package containing the MRE has begun to swell, do not eat it. Throw it away immediately because the food is no longer good to eat and may cause you to become sick.
There is also two small circles in the corner of the MRE packaging. It is a temperature gage, and it tells people whether or not the MRE has reached an unsafe temperature, or if it has become expired and is now unsafe to eat.
If the outer circle is darker than the inner circle, then do not eat it. It is now expired, and you have to throw it away if you do not want to become ill from eating it. However, if the inner circle is darker than the outer circle, then the MRE is still safe to eat, unless the package has begun to swell.