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Army-issued barbecue sandwiches last 2 years.
Most of us won’t touch leftovers in the fridge after more than a few days, but U.S. soldiers frequently feast on barbecue sandwiches well into their 24-month shelf life. By lowering the pH and controlling the water and oxygen levels inside each package, government food technologists created an environment inhospitable to mold and pathogenic bacteria. Available in chicken or beef, the pocket-size MREs (meals ready to eat) require no water, refrigeration, or heating, making them ideal for highly mobile servicemen and women. With 300 calories, 11 grams of protein, and 35 grams of carbohydrates, they “pack a nutritional punch in a small profile,” says Jeremy Whitsitt of the Combat Feeding Directorate at the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center. Now, if the Army could just preserve a side of coleslaw.
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