Sorry to those who preferred the vegetarian lasagna, refried beans, potato cheddar soup and chicken fajitas when digging through the Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) piles. Barbecue shredded beef, vegetarian taco pasta, and seasoned black beans will replace them starting in 2014.
The Combat Feeding Directorate went out and collected feedback from troops, and it turned out vegetarian lasagna didn’t have many fans.
Now, vegetarian taco pasta is a mystery. Google vegetarian taco pasta and images of spaghetti inside a taco shell come up. Look forward to see what that sort of dish looks and tastes like, but apparently troops liked it.
Jeanette Kennedy, a senior food technologist at Natick Labs, Mass., did answer why the common request for pizza has yet to make it into those plastic pouches. She acknowledged that pizza is the most requested food stuff for an MRE.
However, the food preservation technologies haven’t allowed Natick to make a suitable pizza that travels and lasts as long as the military needs. Eggs, deli meats and macaronia and cheese are other items in high demand.
Kennedy said the military is getting close to a break through. Right now the military uses the retort process to sterilize food. The food is heated up to 240 degrees in their pouches in order to kill the microbes that causes bacteria an food spoilage.
Natick Soldier Research is testing non-thermal, low-thermal, and advanced thermal processes in order to sterilize food, Kennedy said.
She predicted in an Army release that the next generation of food could be processed with “microwave sterilization, high pressure processing, super critical carbon dioxide preservation, or osmotic dehydration”