Fresher Meals, Ready to Eat


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RFID System Boosts Military’s Food Supply Chain, Reduces Waste

It turns out that the U.S. military’s fabled Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) and First Strike Rations, designed to have a shelf life of years, really don’t last that long when deployed to the Middle East, according to a study by University of Florida researchers. Exposure to temperatures as high as 140 degrees shortens that lifespan to four weeks or less, according to the $6.7 million study. That translates into millions of dollars a year in lost rations, as the Defense Logistics Agency buys approximately 30 million MREs annually.

So the researchers have developed a temperature-monitoring system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to transfer information wirelessly. This allows for remote monitoring and prediction of remaining shelf life for rations and perishable products. The RFID system can facilitate smarter decision-making throughout the MRE supply chain, as managers decide what to discard and what to ship first