1993 Tuna with Noodles

November 10, 2005

One of the mreinfo.com forum members, Kyle, was kind enough to send me a couple of MREs that had been sitting a storage building for years. He said they had been subject to all the temperature fluctuations the high desert provides – frozen in the winter and 100+ degrees (Fahrenheit) in the summer. He didn’t want to keep them around since he didn’t know how old they were so I volunteered to take them off his hands and do an in-depth taste-test to see how old they were and how they tasted.

This first MRE was obviously from pre-1996 since it still had the dark brown packaging. Once I opened it up, I checked the date codes on a couple of items. The code on the entree was 3018 (January 18, 1993) and the code on the accessory pack was 3162 (~June 13, 1993).

Here are pictures of the MRE and its contents, along with some comments:

MRE Bag Contents Accessory Pack Accessory pack contents
1993 Tuna MRE 1993 Tuna MRE contents 1993 Tuna MRE Accessory pack 1993 Tuna MRE Accessory pack contents


Entree Box (note date on bottom) Tuna with Noodles Entree
1993 Tuna Entree Box Here’s the entree box. Notice the date code on the bottom of the box. 1999 MRE, Tuna with Noodles Entree I heated up the entree using the enclosed 13 year old FRH. The heater worked just fine and soon I was digging into my piping hot 13 year old Tuna with Noodles entree. The entree tasted just fine – I also put in some salt and tabasco sauce but there was nothing about the taste that would have made me think it wasn’t fresh off the shelf.
Crackers Grape Jelly
MRE crackers The crackers, like the entree, tasted great – perfectly fresh and not a bit stale. MRE grape jelly The grape jelly was the one thing I was worried about before opening. I figured the sugar in it would have crystallized or turned into something unrecognizable. But to my surprise, it looked ok. Not perfect…not like a freshly opened jar of grape jelly…but still edible.
Crackers with Jelly M&Ms
MRE cracker with jelly The crackers and jelly combined tasted good. I didn’t think there was enough jelly for two crackers – that’s why it looks like it’s spread pretty thin. MRE M&Ms As soon as I picked up the M&Ms, I could tell they weren’t in good shape. The package felt like a solid lump and after cutting into it, I saw why. It’s not as if the M&Ms melted together in one glob – they just kind of disintegrated into powder. Click on the image to a close-up view and you’ll see what I mean.
Pound Cake Half a Pound Cake
MRE pound cake The pound cake looked, smelled, and tasted great! It was still moist and delicious. MRE half a pound cake Here’s a view of the inside of the pound cake.
MRE Trash
MRE trash One thing that hasn’t changed over the past 13 years is the amount of trash leftover from a fully-consumed MRE.

Besides the M&Ms, the only other “bad” part of this MRE was the instant coffee. I opened up the packet and it just didn’t look right – it was all crusty and a much whiter color than instant coffee is supposed to be.

Over all, I’d say the MRE was perfectly good. If someone gave me a case of these from 1993, I wouldn’t have any qualms about trying them out. Of course, I’d want to be careful seeing as I wouldn’t know exactly how they were stored, but the point is that MREs can hold up much longer than the 3-5 years you usually hear quoted.

Thanks again, Kyle!