Difference Between My MREs and the Military MREs?

Written by The Ready Store

The short answer is no. The civilian MREs and the military MREs that are made for the Department of Defense are made on the same production lines at the same time.  The main difference is in the packaging. DOD MREs will have specific military packaging that indicates that they are for U.S. military use and that they are not for resale. Make sure that the MREs you buy are the civilian version. It is illegal to buy or sell military MREs. So, if you have a buddy in the military that is selling MREs, tell him to stop. This became a huge problem after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

So the MRE entrees are indentical in both the military and civilian versions. You will notice some small differences in content for the Full Meal MREs.

The contents of the civilian version of a Full Meal MRE are:

The military versions of a Full Meal MRE will sometimes contain a small Tabasco sauce, a piece of gum or a small amount of toilet paper. Very minor differences. The food and shelf life are identical.

Updated February 19, 2009


  1. Remona Stingle wrote:

    On the other hand, private resale rights give resellers more freedom to do whatever they would like with the e-book. They can resell and modify the content of the e-book in any way that they see fit.

    March 29th, 2010 at 4:40 am
  2. voice-city wrote:

    good information

    August 5th, 2011 at 12:41 am
  3. Tom wrote:

    DoD MRE’s are non-restock items, meaning that once they are issued they need to be either consumed or disposed of; they cannot go back into the system for reissue. When you buy genuine DoD ones, you are literally getting ones that have been out already, so unless you know the Soldier directly you can’t be sure of the true age or the temperature they were stored in. The “real deal” CAN be better than civilian ones, but it’s also a gamble. With civilian ones such as this, they may not be quite the same, but they’re still really good, and you can guarantee the date and how they were stored.

    August 4th, 2013 at 4:10 pm
  4. Tom wrote:

    I have my doubts about the illegality of selling DoD ones though, since the on post Commissaries have been selling them for a little over $8 each for quite some time now, and DECA is a separate civilian agency (Defense Exchange Commissary Agency) not directly under the DoD.

    August 4th, 2013 at 4:13 pm

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