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New MREs pack no 'mystery meat'.

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SOME of the items Soldiers are taste-testing this year for the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate include the "Shelf Stable on-the-go sandwich," new Meals, Ready-to-Eat entrees, and high-pressure spiced apples.

Food technologists and behavioral scientists survey from 200 to 400 Soldiers every year. Using the current year's MREs as the control, scientists field-test 32 to 33 new items per taste trial. Soldiers rate the food on a scale of one to nine, with six being the minimum for acceptance.

"We run our continuous product-improvement program to take care of today's warfighters," said Gerald Darsch, director of the CFD.

The First Strike Ration is one of several new CFD items created to improve the lives of Soldiers. This invention is effective for warfighters on foot patrol outside of the wire, who usually carry two to three MREs with them per day, Darsch said.

"We have found that they are stripping the MREs and throwing out up to 50 percent," Darsch said. "Not that they don't like the product, but it takes up too much room in the rucksack."

When Soldiers do this, nutrition control is lost, and Soldiers are not likely getting the nutrients they need per day, he said.

The First Strike Ration contains items easily eaten on the move, including the newly developed Shelf Stable on-the-go sandwich, which is very similar to a hot pocket sandwich.

--Erika Wonn/ARNEWS

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Title Annotation:meals ready to eat
Author:Wonn, Erika
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2009
Words:233
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