In 1996, military MREs (meals ready to eat) started appearing with the message that the meals are designed for military personnel and that they are not for resale. This effectively made it illegal for military personnel to resell MRE meals. It is also illegal for civilians to buy MRE meals as they are government property.
However, this does not mean that military MREs have not made an appearance on eBay and other types of buying and selling websites. While it has made them more difficult to come by, especially in larger quantities, it is still possible to locate and buy these types of MREs.
However, there isn’t much that the government can do about these websites listing the items for sale as they are not actually in possession of the goods and are also not selling or buying the products. There have been a few attempts by the government to address the issue with the individuals who are using online platforms to sell these MREs.
Some e-mails have been sent to individuals selling the MRE’s from the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia’s Office of Operational Rations. It clearly states that the sale of the MRE meals are illegal and that the individual involved should cease and desist immediately and remove the items from the listing on eBay.
The emails also list a number of reasons why resale is illegal. Some of these reasons include:
– Rations are never considered surplus and should be consumed or disposed of in accordance with military regulations.
– The use and/or sale of the meals by unauthorized personnel compromises Operational Rations Security in that the meals could be tampered with or adulterated in some way.
– Military MRE’s are issued with and ITD (Inspection Test Date) which is 3 years from the date that the meal was produced. Meals that are not inspected are not considered to be safe for consumption. In essence, it means that any meals exceeding the ITD is considered to be expired and it is illegal to sell consumable products that have passed their expiry date.
Of course military MRE meals are designed to last much longer than 3 years if they are stored correctly at a temperature not exceeding 60 degrees Fahrenheit or frozen. However, there is no assurance that the meals have been stored correctly and the illegal sale of these meals could have compromised the products even before they have reached the Inspection Test Date.
It is important to note that most of these meals ready to eat on the internet are more than 8 years old which increases the risk that they are no longer safe for human consumption. Signs to look out for to check if an MRE is still good to eat include:
– Ensure that the packaging has not been damaged in any way.
– Check the color of the food. If it seems off color or greenish, it probably is not safe to eat.
– Check the texture of the meal. If it is slimy and does not hold it’s structure, it is best not to eat it.
– If it smells bad or emits a foul odor, it is not good to eat.
– If the meal tastes even slightly off, it is best to dispose of it.
Keep in mind that when MREs there is no legal recourse for reclaiming monies for MRE meals that have gone bad as the sale and purchase was illegal. Even eBay and other sites will not be able to assist in getting a refund as the buyer has received the product that they paid for under the full knowledge of it’s age and the assumption that the food contained in the MRE may no longer be safe for human consumption.
This said, the government does not seem to be that concerned with individuals selling a couple of MREs online or in other way. These MREs were probably for their own personal use and were brought home with them and then sold. The issue of making the sale of these military rations illegal is aimed at those who are stockpiling the meals and selling them to make a profit.
One MRE meal costs the government about $4.50 to manufacture. A fair price for the online sale of a case of MREs can be as high as $60 excluding shipping charges. Considering that the cost to acquire the meals is normally zero, it provides the seller with a 100% profit margin.
There is also the issue of theft that needs to be addressed. In most cases, persons in possession of military meals ready to eat for resale have acquired them illegally. This means that they have effectively stolen U.S. government property and can be charged with the crime.
It also means that a buyer is in possession of stolen property and can be prosecuted for the crime. There is little defense for a person found to be in possession of a military MRE as the packaging clearly states that it is property of the U.S. government and not for resale.
It is important to stress once again that selling and buying the meals is illegal and therefore a crime that can be prosecuted by the U.S. government. And to re-iterate, buying the items also carry the following additional risks:
– It can lead to charges of possession of stolen property. Keep in mind that these MREs are the property of the U.S. government and simply being on possession of them without authorization is illegal.
– The products may have expired and may no longer be safe for human consumption.
– The seller, in procuring the items illegally, may not have stored or transported them in a manner that would protect the product and therefore it is more likely that a damaged item that is no longer safe for consumption is being purchased.
– Sellers may procure the items from military base dumpsters where they have been disposed of as they have not been verified as safe for consumption when the Inspection Test Date has arrived.
The risks and hazards associated with purchasing military MREs illegally does not seem to have curbed the availability of the items to civilians. The meals are often available from the following sources:
– eBay is probably the most common place where military MREs are sold.
– Army Surplus Stores almost always have MREs available for sale. However, the cost can be almost double of what you can expect to pay on eBay or from a private seller. It is also important to note that even though it is an army surplus store, the items are still considered to be stolen and not for resale therefore the transaction is still illegal.
– Gun shows and other types of prepper or survivalist conventions and events also normally have a stock of military meals ready to eat available. The sale and purchase of the rations at these events is still however illegal.
– A private seller who is or was a member of the military will probably offer the cheapest option for buying the meals. However, it can be difficult to find a private seller with a military background.
Before buying from any of these sources, it is highly recommended to check the following:
– The production date, Inspection Test Date or Expiry Date. It is advisable to only buy cases on eBay that clearly depict the dates in a picture or photo of the product.
– Cheap MREs are more likely to have expired or been damaged in some way.
– Misleading information like stating that a box is sealed where a picture clearly shows an opened box or where the item is listed as new but the production date is ten years ago.
– Detailed information of exactly what is being sold is important.
– Look for the government warning that the product is U.S. property and not for resale. Products that do not carry this warning are probably not military MREs or are fake.
– Military spec rations or rations that are listed as similar to military MREs are also not military MREs
– Make sure that the FRH (Flameless Ration Heater) is included. Meals that do not include the FRH or that sell it separately are not military grade. Every military MRE comes with a FRH.
– Be wary of sellers that want to charge additional fees such as handling fees or where the shipping cost is much higher than average, especially if the buyer and seller are living in the same area. These additional charges are unnecessary and will simply cost more than purchasing MREs from a different source.
Once you have obtained the military MREs, it is important to store them correctly. It is recommended to store the items in a dark, dry area at a temperature lower than 60 degrees F. However, it is best to freeze the meals to extend their shelf life even longer. It is not recommended to keep MREs past 5 years without freezing. Even with freezing, the meals should be checked before being consumed to ensure that they are still good to eat.
Keep in mind that military MREs use a retort packaging method which sterilizes the meal and packaging while sealing it to prevent oxygen and bacteria from entering and spoiling the food contained inside. The same method has been used for decades in canning processes.
This means that no preservatives are used in the preparation of the meals and once the seal is opened, the meals will become susceptible to bacteria and oxygen in the same way any other food does. If the packaging seems to be even slightly damaged or simply in bad condition, it is highly recommended to dispose the meal immediately.
Military MREs are also frozen and transported in refrigerated containers in order to maintain their integrity and ensure the delivery of a safe product. It is advisable to find out how long MREs have spent defrosted and what temperatures they have been kept at before purchasing. Higher temperatures will lead to the product degrading much faster.
It is also worth noting that civilian grade MREs are in actual fact very similar to military grade MREs. They use the same packaging process for sterilization purposes and also refrain from using preservatives. The meals may taste slightly different and not provide the same type of menu such as a main, side and dessert.
The heating instructions for civilian MREs may also differ. It may require that the meal be placed in boiling water for a specified period of time or it may have a different heating system that is activated when the meal is opened and exposed to oxygen. These heating mechanisms are entirely safe.
This means that they have a similar shelf life as military grade MREs if they are stored under the same conditions which means freezing the products and keeping them in a cool dark area. It is however still important to pay attention to the manufacturing and expiry dates which should be contained on the MRE packaging. If there are no dates, it is best to avoid buying the meals.
Military MREs each come with a FRH or a Flamelss Ration Heater. These heaters are available for sale separately from civilian MREs and can be purchased at about $1 a piece through eBay or other online stores and camping and survival retail outlets.
It is however best to purchase civilian MREs from the manufacturer or an accredited retail/online outlet. There are no legal issues surrounding the purchase of regular ready to eat meals and therefore it is not necessary to resort to online auction sites or other means to get hold of the products.
On the downside, civilian MREs are much more expensive than the military versions. The military itself does not pay that much less for each MRE that it purchases but because the MREs are not being procured free of charge and illegally, there are manufacturing and other costs that need to be factored into the selling price.
Some MREs are not as good quality wise as others and it is recommended to do a little research and shop around for ones that meet the same standard as the military versions as well as any personal preferences. There are plenty of sites online that review the different products available on the market taking into consideration a wide range of factors such as taste, volume, shelf life and the manufacturing process.
It is unlikely that the government will come after a person who has purchased one or two military MREs, they are more likely to want the person who is responsible for selling the MREs or who procured the products illegally in the first place. None the less, the risk does exist that a person can be prosecuted for illegally purchasing the meals and/or possession of stolen goods. This will lead to a permanent criminal record.
It is therefore important to consider all the risks of purchasing military or government rations carefully before buying. It is also a good idea to consider purchasing comparable MREs that are manufactured for civilian consumers.
Whether you are purchasing MREs for current use or to store as future emergency rations, it is very important to keep all the above mentioned factors in mind, especially where the safety of the products for human consumption are concerned. Eating a product that has been contaminated by bacteria, oxygen or other pollutants can have mild to severe health consequences and in some cases, can be fatal.
The sale of military MREs is illegal while civilian MREs are not restricted although they must meet with the necessary FDA regulations.
How To Find The Best Quality MRE Meals For Sale
If you’re looking to get your hands on some MREs, you should understand that not every MRE dealer is the same. There are lots of shady retailers of these meals appearing throughout the internet. If you’re looking to get high quality MREs that are safe and affordable, then you should look into the various tips in this article to find out how to get the best MRE meals for sale.
Generally, the first thing you want to do is only to look at MRE dealers that have a reputation of excellence within a particular domain of MREs. For example, a particular dealer may have a great reputation selling historic meals to collectors. On the other hand, another collector may have an outstanding reputation is selling general meals for those that are looking to stockpile these meals in the event of a disaster or extreme weather event.
The general consensus is that for retailers that sell a huge range of these meals. Whether it be American MREs along with historic Chinese MREs, they probably aren’t able to concentrate their efforts in being good at a specific subsection of these meals and thus probably aren’t the best to buy from. With that being said, there are plenty of other characteristics you should look into when judging whether or not a particular retailer MRE is to be trusted or not.
If you’re looking for meals that fall under the category of large cases or half cases, you should ensure that you know the product you’re looking for. When it comes to cases of MREs they will often contain dozens of different MREs that are tightly packaged within a cardboard box. These meals are essentially just the same you would see being carried around and dropped off from airplanes during disaster relief efforts. The best thing about these cases is the fact that you get lot for your money.
Buying cases or half cases of MREs are a great way to get as many of these meals for as little money as possible. However, as mentioned, there are lots of shady retailers out there you should research all the retailers you are considering purchasing a case from. The cases are often very large and will require an experienced shipper for it to be packaged and shipped to your location in an efficient manner. There have been cases of people using novice MRE sellers who don’t understand the laws and protocols surrounding large shipments ending up having to pay extra tariffs and taxes.
Large cases and half cases of MREs will often only be available for some of the most common types of meals. If you’re simply looking for these meals to be used for a practical purposes, then these cases are the best choice for you. However, if you collect these meals than getting a case is perhaps a bit overkill in terms of the practicality of it. Usually most collectors of these meals will own no more than three of a given type of meal. After all, they usually don’t consume and simply collect them, there’s no tangible use for them such as eating the meals itself.
Thus, if you’re not looking for large cases of these meals, you should perhaps opt for individual boxes of these meals. Many times, there are lots of retailers that will sell you a single MRE or single entree or side found within an MRE. This is usually convenient if you want to try out a particular food product found inside a meal without actually committing to purchasing a huge case or half case of the meal.
Lots of popular food items that are found within these MREs are the likes of burritos and rice dishes. Both these dishes have become more and more common with these meals as not only do they last a long time, they also have very high caloric densities. Many people forget that the purpose of these meals is to ensure that the highest amount of calories are provided in the most efficient manner possible. These meals are a means of replenishing the energy of those in disaster areas or war zones in a matter that is as efficient as possible.
There are lots of specialized retailers that focus just on selling single item MRE products. As mentioned, these retailers that specialize in a particular subsection of MRE product are always better to utilize than a retailer that focuses on many different subsections. Usually the retailers that sell these single item products purchase cases of MREs in very large quantities than take out the individual MRE components found within these cases and then resell them for a profit.
The most common purchase MRE is through these single product avenues. After all, not many people want to commit to purchasing a huge case of MRE, especially if they are relatively new to the MRE community and hobby. Hence, you should be happy in knowing that the likelihood of getting a bad deal or retailer in this subsection of MRE sales is relatively low. There is lots of competition for the sale of these MREs and thus the quality of service has increased exponentially in recent times.
The best thing about purchasing these single MRE products is the fact that you’ll be able to try out a wide range of different meals and find out which one is best for you. You’ll soon understand which types of foods you like the most when it comes to these meals. Generally, a particular meal type in a MRE, such as a burrito, will be made in a very similar fashion throughout various different meal manufacturers. Thus, if you find that you have an affinity to these burritos, then you’ll realize that any sort of MRE in the future you may encounter with burritos will be something that you’ll enjoy.
Individual MRE products also are able to span a huge range of different tastes and cultures. There are specialized retailers that also stockpile MREs from different countries. You may be surprised to find that American meals aren’t necessarily the tastiest. For example, British MREs come with very sweet and tasty jams and marmalades that are very popular within those that enjoy MREs. On the other hand, you’ll find that Japanese MREs are very high tech and come with a wide range of seafood dishes that surprisingly are of a very high quality and taste even though they are in a MRE form.
It’s advised that those that are looking to purchase MREs have a taste of all the different meals that are on offer from different countries. There are many MRE enthusiasts that have found out that an MRE from a particular country is best suited to their tastes. The great thing in recent times is that the ability of getting an MRE from a different country is much easier than ever before. As mentioned, many retailers will now stock common meals from other countries, making it very easy to buy an American meal just as much as a British one.
The one problem that you may encounter when it comes to these individual meal products is the fact that meals from more less known countries won’t be easy to purchase. For example, every single country in the world has its own version of the MRE. However, the ones you may encounter will often come from the larger countries that have a larger and more active military or humanitarian presence around the world.
Finding MREs from countries such as Bulgaria or perhaps certain countries in Africa will be a lot harder than you may think. Usually, they won’t be listed on any major MRE retail site, and are only able to be received through word of mouth or through online forums. These MREs are often in limited stockpiles within their home country, with only a select number of individuals having access to them. Usually, these MREs are strictly for armed forces to consume, and getting them leaked outside to regular civilians is a difficult task, that many aren’t willing to try considering there isn’t much profit to be made selling these meals.
Thus, if you’re thinking of trying out the meals from relatively smaller countries with a smaller military and humanitarian presence, then you should consider becoming heavily involved with MRE communities. The more you become involved with these communities, you will be able to meet people that are also enthusiasts. Once the circle of MRE enthusiasts you know increases, so will the chances that one of them will have a contact that will be able to get you some of the more rarer forms of meals that won’t be able to be bought normally through the internet.
There are particular types of MREs that you may also be interested in. One example is the MRE that is in a military tray pack. In cases of disasters and out in the war zone, it’s often impossible to use proper dishes in order to place the MRE food. Because of this, many of these meals come packaged in a disposal tray that already contains all of the meals within it in an easy to navigate fashion.
These military MRE trays are very abundant and are available at many retailers for a low price. Essentially, these MREs are just the same as any other MRE, except that the design of the packaging has been changed in order to incorporate a design of a tray that will help with consuming the meals that it contains.
Military tray MREs are best for those looking for meals that they can use in a disaster situation. Furthermore, it is great for those that like to go exploring and camping for extended periods of time. This kind of meal will not go off for a very long period of time, further, it’s immensely convenient as it allows you to eat the food almost instantaneously without the need of any kind of extra set up. If you’re thinking about an MRE that is the most convenient, the military tray MRE is perhaps the most convenient of them all.
Finding a trusted retailer of MREs are often able to found through a process of elimination. Once again, you should try and find as many retailers as possible that are specialized in a particular type of MRE, such as cases of MREs or individual MRE products. The more specialized the retailer is, the higher the likelihood that they are able to provide a higher quality and more tailored service regarding the particular meal product you’re looking to purchase.
Furthermore, you should look into the backgrounds of those that are selling the meals. Many times, enthusiasts of MREs will begin selling them on the internet. Many times, they’ll start their own MRE business and become entrenched in providing the best MRE service possible. This is because they have a genuine interest in these products. You really want to find these retailers when looking to buy an MRE. You’ll be able to trust that they service they deliver you will be of the highest standard.
Thankfully, there are lots of online reviews and testimonials regarding the quality of certain MRE sites. These reviews will often detail the particular MRE a person ordered, perhaps it was a case of MREs or an individual product, and will provide insight onto the shipping process and the quality of the product itself. You don’t want to risk your safety or risk having to pay extra custom duties during your MRE purchase so you should really look into these reviews to see what others have to say about a given retailer.
Finding the best MRE is a process that involves filtering out bad quality retailers while also understanding what particular type of meal you’re looking to purchase. As shown, there is a wide variety of different meals that you can buy, and each of these meals have their own benefits and drawbacks. After you’ve done enough analysis, you should soon be able to find the best retailer for you.
Find the best MRE meals for sale available on the market doesn’t have to be easy but our tips can help you smooth the process.