My ironic MRE horror story

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rationtin440
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My ironic MRE horror story

Post by rationtin440 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:04 am

This is for steve1989 and anyone else who needs a good dose of irony as it applies to MREs vs MCIs. I recall that it was a common practice in my unit's ambulance/evac section for the crew-chief on each vehicle to take a case of MCIs and later on MREs, open the individual boxes (MCIs) and outer brown pouches (MREs) so that everyone in the crew could basically put together their own customized meal. Anyway, I rummaged thru the box at zero-dark-thirty (actually around 11pm) one weekend drill and pulled out a boxed pouch of food to eat. After discovering it was turkey diced w/gravy, not one of my favorites, I ate it anyway as I was on duty and had to stay awake. About 3 hours later I had bad stomach cramps, a headache, and was sweating buckets. Within a few minutes I was going on both ends to the point where our section leader decided to hook me up with an IV and send me to the base hospital. As it turned out there was a defect in the layering of the entrée pouch which seemed to be "activated" by going from cold ambulance to being heated in my canteen cup, and some rather nasty stuff grew in it. Pretty ironic since the MCIs we had been eating were 7-8 years old, while the turkey diced w/gravy MRE was maybe 2 years old. The hospital told me I had food poisoning and my section leader told me that $%^& happens and no amount of heating or boiling of the entrée would have kept me from getting sick. Live and learn I guess.

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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by rationtin440 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:31 pm

Although I cannot recall exactly whathad managed to make me sick, my section leader later told me that it was a good thing I had forgotten to throw the outer box and empty entrée pouch away, since it helped the veterinary medicine people to more easily identify the culprit. When I was in the army national guard, the Army Veterinary Service was assigned to investigate and handle cases of food poisoning among their other duties.

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Norton
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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by Norton » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:11 am

I remember being told by Vietnam Veteran Army drill Sargent circa 1979. The Tuna fish will make you sick. Just eat the fruit and other items in the box.. The stuff is no good! Later i was told the same thing by a E5 that had been in a Pershing Missile crew Germany. He said the Tuna will make you sick don't eat it Norton.

I never tried US Army tuna because of their strongly given advice. I don't know if it's true but they convinced me. I think I had a MRE Chicken Ala King that smelled bad when I opened the pouch. This was a new pouch maybe one year old. After that I would not eat that entree from fear that the entire batch was no good.

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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by steve1989 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:06 pm

Oh man, rationtin440, that is an extremely rough kinda food poisoning you had from that Turkey Diced W/ Gravy! It's such an awful feeling getting sick from any food - but something like that with the meat & gravy.. oh my - that had to be painful!

I've gotten sick from various Rations over the years taste testing this stuff.

+Several relatively large bites of a 1991 Maple Nut Cake: (Rancid nuts) numbness and swelling of tongue and mucous membrane - slight stomach ache, slight diarrhea. ( Happened to me in mid-2010 )

+Half of a 1991 Chocolate Covered Brownie (Rancid nuts) a much more advanced condition of numb and swollen tongue and mucous membrane, this one was so bad that when I lifted my tongue for examination in mirror it shot large amount of saliva on mirror almost like a Spitting Cobra my mouth was a squirt gun. Then followed by a bad stomach ache, sweating, and diarrhea. (Happened a week later from the Maple Nut Cake I shoulda learned the first time.)

+UK Multi Climate Ration Muesli - This was an odd one only a 2010 DoP Dried milk doesn't hold up. It tasted slightly off but I didn't detect anything wrong past just a slight off flavor it didn't taste bad. God stomach ache, sweating, vomiting, then more sweating. Not a fun one I tell ya.

+ Just had a 1977 LRP Chicken Stew a couple months ago - seemed fine but it first gave me the sweats, I ended up throwing it up and it really was a shame. After getting it outta my system, I felt a little better but that night and the next day my muscles felt sore, I was weak, and a bit out of it. I had gotten the LRP for only $17 and they usually run for a bit more so thankfully I didn't have to spend a whole ton for it.


Stuff like that is almost embarrassing for me to admit because I like to think I know a thing or two about food storage and shelf-life integrity, and packaging.


Norton, I have one of those Tunas in this case of MCI's - will have to keep my eye on that one. May have grown teeth by this point so I better be careful! :shock: :lol:



Compiling pictures of these MCI's - only opened 2 of them so far, but I am excited to share the photos to you guys once I do. :)

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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by rationtin440 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:23 pm

Looking at my second posting here I should have clarified it more. It was obvious that the turkey diced w/gravy was what actually made me sick, I was not sure how it had made me sick as it seemed brand new. Norton, I do recall when I was in medical training and then chemical defense training that Pershing missile crews and other critical units would likely be covertly targeted with a bio-agent introduced into the food or water supply, but tuna and similar stuff, depending on what it was packed in, might not hold up as well as some other canned stuff just by natural causes. steve1989, I recall many if not mostly all of the nut rolls we got in the MCIs were unfit to eat because of the rancid nuts. What may have happened with the Museli you tried from the UK ration; if it had milk that may have gone over then once re-constituted it would have contaminated the museli and it would basically have been like drinking bad milk from Cumby's or a grocery store. Norton, I honestly cannot recall having the tuna more than once or twice but it never made me sick because I could not eat the whole can, to me it always had a peculiar metallic after-taste----of course once the can is opened and a few bites are taken who wants to swap right? One more thing while I recall, we were told that the reason for the lead paint on the MCIs in Vietnam and until the lead paint was banned was to protect the food inside from radioactive fallout, hmmmmmm :roll:

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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by rationtin440 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:28 pm

One more bit of advice steve1989 and anyone else who may be contemplating to try eating an MCI from 1980 or earlier? Please don't, because just to have the experience of eating one could make you very sick and some of the cans could even be contaminated with botulism. Take my word and the words from other guys here who ate them in the military, they really were notall that good, and certainly nothing to compare with the MREs available these days, not even close. Just my $.02 :)

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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by steve1989 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:01 am

You are absolutely right, rationtin, I do not recommend eating really old Rations to anyone. I will do it occasionally and do photo sets to share, but even then I almost never eat old meat or dairy products unless it is a Freeze-Dried LRP or similar type item.

The thing is, I even thought it was probably a foolish thing to try most if not all of the old freeze dried vacuum sealed stuff except the only difference from it and say MCI's or Vintage MRE's, is that it is at least void of all moisture.

I have come across a Beef Hash LRP that had a pinhole and of course the contents felt loose and the vacuum seal was obviously long gone and was one I ended up tossing out without any consideration of a taste test.

One thing I know is the old LRP's can hold up perfectly fine if they are under ideal storage conditions for over 30 years but I would never eat an old MCI Entree. The 1977 Chicken Stew was an odd case, I think it too was the dried milk in that one because the vacuum seal still hissed upon opening so who knows what it was so I advise anyone trying to eat a Chicken Stew LRP over say 20-25 years old to be careful.


Again, rationtin is correct, do not eat any old MCI's or other old canned Rations. Carefully opening them from the bottom of the swelled/damaged cans for restoring purposes is ok if you wanna have this stuff up on display for long-term purposes, though.
To all folks messing around with this kind of stuff, always be careful and use common sense -if it seems spoiled (i.e. smells bad or looks bad, leaks, swelling, or simply bad taste or smell) do not even attempt to taste test it.


Thankyou rationtin for your advice too, duly noted and I will 100% follow it. Now I may try a cracker or piece of of chocolate, perhaps coffee & gum - but nothing else in these MCI's. Besides, I am going through them and taking a ton of pics but I am really wanting to restore the entree cans and the fruit cans. I only want to open 3 of the B Units, 1 of each, and I will enjoy a couple of the ACC packs maybe 3 or 4 and the cheese spreads may be tossed - oh and the jelly and peanut peanut butter will go untouched.

rationtin440
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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by rationtin440 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:45 am

You're welcome steve1989! My wife looked at my post here and told me that I was probably preaching to the choir because everyone in the forums seems pretty intelligent and knows enough about rations to be careful. I guess it was my 15 years as a medic kicking back in, always take care of your people. I have a few friends who have bought MCIs at gun shows, eaten them just to be able to say they had one, and wound up in the hospital. One of the NCOs in my first unit told me that the mystique and fascination about MCIs kind of reminded him of when he was in the Air Force before he transferred to my guard unit. He got orders for Groom Lake Nevada, home of Area 51 and of course he was all excited to finally be able to see what was really there. He had a top secret clearance and of course was unable to go into any detail, but he did say that it was like a huge let-down once he was actually there, and he began to wonder why he even had a top secret clearance. He commented that all the hype about Area 51 and what he actually saw there was like getting nothing but clothes for Christmas when you were 8 years old and wanted action figures. Same thing applied to MCIs, like I mentioned they really were not all that good and when we finally got MREs, it was like Christmas in October, except for one certain Turkey, Diced w/Gravy. :P

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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by rationtin440 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:54 am

By the way, steve1989, there is a guy who has had stuff on the Vietnam database website about re-manufacturing MCIs for Vietnam re-enactors, but he has not updated his webpage for a very long time so I don't know if he is still doing the project or not. He mentioned re-producing the menus and also selling Vietnam USGI uniforms, accessories, web gear etc. I unfortunately don't have his website any more but it looks like he was doing something very similar to http://www.reprorations.com except it was Vietnam era rations. Actually if he does produce them, the "new" MCIs will probably taste better and you won't have to worry about getting sick. It should be easy enough to find his website on a search engine but last time I checked it out I forgot to write it down and I do recall that as of April 2015 he had not updated it.

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Re: My ironic MRE horror story

Post by noderaser » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:32 am

rationtin440 wrote:When I was in the army national guard, the Army Veterinary Service was assigned to investigate and handle cases of food poisoning among their other duties.
Apparently, the Army doesn't have enough confidence in MREs to assign their safety/quality to a human medical crew. We have a few cases in a communications shelter that serves double-duty as a Tsunami bug-out area, and when we were cleaning some things out we noticed that they were approaching 10 years old. Knowing that the storage conditions aren't exactly optimal (an OD green shelter on top of a hill can get pretty toasty) we decided to try and exchange them for fresh ones... No-go through our organizational supply guys as they don't stock them, so they said to check with the post (Army) supply guys since they go through pallets of them with all the field training that goes on. I called them up and asked if we could swap, and they said that the only way MREs can be turned back in/exchanged, is to call the Veterinarian up at Fort Lewis and have them inspect and certify them as safe to eat.

Surely, there must be a better agency/organization for food safety in the Army... In the AF, most of the food safety inspections are done by either Services or Public Health (AFSCs) personnel. But, the veterinarians? That seems an odd choice, since many installations don't even have them unless they have a fair complement of MWDs, and not necessarily even then.
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