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New Army Sandwich Can Stay Fresh For 3 Years

It has always been a pain to feed soldiers in the field. You may remember learning about hardtack back in school, and how it often came with a side of maggots. Today things are a little better with MREs, but just ask anyone who’s eaten one and they’ll tell you they aren’t pleasant. Now, however, there’s been an advance in soldier-feeding technology: A sandwich that has a 3 year shelf life. That’s right, you can eat this sandwich 3 years down the line, and it’ll still be good. Well, as good as it was in the first place anyways.

The sandwich takes advantage of a few different kinds of wizardry. Dehydrating the thing entirely was out of the question, but controlling the moisture present was of the utmost importance considering uncontrolled moisture leads to bacteria and mold. To deal with that, they use various humectants like honey, sugar, and salt to ensure that water can be present, but that it’s locked up and under control.

On top of that, in each airtight package, there’s what’s called an “oxygen scavenger” or in layman’s terms “a little package filled with iron filings.” It functions like those little packets you find in bags of beef jerky. The idea is that if there’s any oxygen inside the bag, which there shouldn’t be, it’ll react with the filings and make rust instead of reacting with the sandwich and making a whole mess of gross.

These suckers are ready to eat right out of the can bag, and according to a few soilders who tried them on camera, are actually quite good. Of course, it’s pretty hard to not improve upon MRE slop. Still, the sandwiches look like they could be posed to revolutionized battlefield eating. If they do well there, it’s only a matter of time before they start popping up in vending machines. Yum.

Watch a video on the subject here.

(via BBC)

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