The Army has unveiled a much-anticipated pizza Meal Ready to EAT (MRE) for its soldiers that has a three-year shelf life — even if it's kept in the desert heat.
The pizza MRE will start with one topping — pepperoni — and will also contain cherry blueberry cobbler, a cheese spread with cheddar and jalapeno cheese, Italian bread sticks, cookies, and chocolate protein drink powder. The mozzarella cheese on the pizza is specifically made to withstand heat.
Stephen Moody, who directs the Combat Feeding Directorate at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, said a pizza MRE is something that's been requested since the 1980s.
Moody's center has been working on the pizza project since 2012 and appears to have gotten the recipe right. It will be available to troops as soon as the end of year and to most soldiers within 18 months.
The pizza MRE and other battlefield nutrition options recently showcased at the Pentagon use a new technology called vacuum microwave drying, which Moody said "brings to the table an ability to put fruits and vegetables into MREs."
"One of the benefits of the vacuum-microwave as opposed to freeze-drying is that with freeze-drying you have to put the water back in [before eating]," Moody said. "This you only remove enough water to get the shelf stability."
Last year, the military announced it would not allow soldiers to consume fast food or other things that are considered luxuries while they're stationed overseas. The reason given was that troops were often not in a combat mindset.
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