When it comes down to natural disasters, if there's one thing to learn from the news broadcasts is that it is always best to take care of yourself and be self reliant. You can't always be dependent on others for your well being because the truth is, they might not be there when you need them. Hurricane Katrina sadly taught us this and while it was a harsh lesson to learn, it was also long overdue for personal responsibility. Everyone should have emergency kits in their house and car and for good measure, their cottage or mountain house / cabin. An individual should also have three days worth of food and water. Convenient and handy as the perfect emergency food ration is the meals ready to eat packages available to civilians.
Originally designed as military MREs, manufacturers have introduced civilian versions of their army ration packs. There isn't much difference between military MRE and civilian MRE but civilian MRE meals might differ slightly on the calorie count of 1250 as required by one individual military MRE pack. On the whole, civilian MRE individual packages have much the same components as military grade MREs but might offer less variety in the cases. However, because of the demand since Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, more variety in menu selections is being introduced. Obviously, it would be imprudent to wait until after disaster strikes to get ready as the idea of emergency preparation is to prepare well in advance before an emergency happens. One should try a MRE package on sale before committing to a whole case at the house or mountain cabin. In this situation, it would be a great idea to bring an MRE food package on camping, hiking, or backpacking trips so you can get an idea of what the menu offers and if they were able to sustain your needs after physical activity. MREs can be heated up or eaten cold so it really is handy to have a meal ready to eat on the go complete with utensils and heater system.
Meals ready to eat are good for approximately three years after their manufactured date but it also depends on the storage conditions and weather conditions that the food rations were subjected to. Still, if you keep it in stock and rotate for new cases every once in awhile, you shouldn't have a problem with MRE expiration. A case contains twelve individual meal packages and since they are also ideal for camping and backpacking trips or even a fast meal at home, you're sure to use them up. In fact, you'll probably be thankful not having to need them in a real emergency.