I had this MRE since 1988 or 1989. My father brought it home with several others while working at Fort Riley during the 1980's. It was part of my bugout bag during my college days in the early 1990s. Then it was relegated to the bottom of other bags for far too long. I was recently moving some stuff around and came across this old MRE and thought it would be interesting to find out what happened to the items inside of it.
I opened it up last weekend and took the two pictures seen here in this post.
At first look it is evident to see that the main entree is very puffy. This is a tell tale sign of spoilage. The peanut butter package was still kneadable. The beverage powder package was as hard as a rock. The dehydrated pears and chocolate covered cookie packages looked fine. The ubiquitous cracker looked the same as they do today, color difference of the package not withstanding. I did not open anything else. I was waiting for a more suitable time to do a complete review. Then fate stepped in.
My wife (Household 6) saw the items setting on my workbench. Concerned that either one of our youngest children was going to try to sample it, or that one of the neighbor boys would try to eat it, she threw everything away.
I was not planning to try to eat anything. But I was disappointed that I did not get to open any of the packages to actually go eyes on the various food items. My guess that the actually nutritional value of the food was probably long gone, except for maybe the dehydrated pears.
However, just the picture showing the food items layed out gives us a good idea of how long a MRE can last when stored in various conditions.