It is a little known fact that USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) inspects the Meals, Ready-to-Eat, or MREs, that provide nourishment to our soldiers serving overseas in the U.S. Armed Forces. Throughout their tours of duty, MREs serve as both daily nourishment and holiday meal for thousands of U.S. service men and women.
AMS ensures that MREs of the highest quality and nutritional standards in order to meet the needs of our soldiers. MREs, stored in easy-to-open pouches, are specially designed to last a long time and withstand any shipment type—including parachute drops. AMS Processed Products Branch inspectors make sure that the food inside the MRE pouches—Southwest Style Beef and Black Beans or Chicken with Tomato and Feta Cheese—looks good and tastes good, as expected. Inspectors also ensure that the MREs meet nutritional standards developed by the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General. AMS tests the foods for a variety of requirements, including vitamin, protein and fat content.
For more than 30 years, AMS has partnered with the Department of Defense to inspect combat rations like MREs, which have been continuously reviewed and improved over the years. Menus have expanded to reflect more contemporary and tastier foods. Current MRE selections include pocket sandwiches, tortillas, pouched tuna, strawberry milkshakes, sugar-free drinks, cakes and cookies, jalapeno cheese spread, and many others. There are also self-heating meals and special rations that can withstand any weather condition.
AMS takes great pride in making sure troops on the front lines have access to the most nutritional, best tasting resources possible. While it may not be a traditional Fourth of July barbecue, MREs will help to feed America’s servicemen and women who fight to keep our freedom and independence. USDA is proud to make this contribution in the true spirit of our Independence Day.