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JPritch
04-04-2019, 09:27
I have some Mountain House meals my Dad gave to me, and he doesn't even know how old they are. I'm guessing from when he was an avid hiker, they are 20 ish years old. It's an old design packaging and no date stamp on it. Just wondering the approx shelf life of these products.

Also, I have some more current MH meals that I broke open and ziplocked last October for a trip I did. Still have some of the ziplocked food left and thinking about taking them on my trip this weekend. G2G or no? Not sure what the shelf life is after you open it up. :-?

I appreciate any insights!

CalebJ
04-04-2019, 09:30
Mountain House claims 35 years on their current products. I don't know if that's always been the case.

bighammer
04-04-2019, 11:04
Mountain House claims 35 years on their current products. I don't know if that's always been the case.

I guess I'll have to add a line to my will to include leftover Mountain House meals. :rolleyes:

ldsailor
04-04-2019, 12:15
I used to eat Mountain House freeze dried meals during blue water sailboat deliveries more than 25 years ago. I had several left over from the mid-90's and took them with me on a recent trip to the Bahamas. Only one was bad. Believe me you will know if the meal is bad at the first taste.

I wouldn't throw them out. A few years back MH changed its "Best if eaten by" date from 7 to 10 years, but they test their meals as far out as 30 years with still edible results.

JPritch
04-04-2019, 12:53
Good to know guys. Seems like a bit of a roll of the dice, but it's a short trip and I certainly won't starve.

CalebJ
04-04-2019, 13:12
I was wrong about 35 years in my previous post. It's actually 30 years, but they do state "Our Taste Guarantee is retroactive to products dating all the way back to 1986." Here's the link:
https://www.mountainhouse.com/m/shelf-life.html

GoldenBear
04-04-2019, 13:44
I've volunteered at a local food shelf for many years, and one of our rules is that we do not give out cans past their expiration date. The problem arose as we noticed the obvious: other than Campbell's, there was no consistency about how that date was printed on cans. Indeed, many cans had very esoteric means of doing so, and some had no date at all! So I did little research, contacting the customer service of various companies. I then did a little online research.

The reason for the inconsistency in printing of dates is simple: other than milk and baby food, there is no regulation about when canned food is considered unsafe for distribution. Each company can put any "sell by" date they want, they can use any system they want to specify that date, and they can use any criteria they want to choose one. And stores are not legally required to remove cans that are "past" these dates (there might contractual requirements, however).

The reason for this lack of regulation is also simple: once an item is vacuum-sealed and then sterilized, it is SAFE to eat, pretty much forever. Canned foods, more than a century old, have been opened and found to be completely free of anything unsafe to eat -- and with almost no loss in nutritive value.
https://www.questia.com/read/1G1-9009146/the-canning-process-old-preservation-technique-goes
The ONLY purpose of these sell-by dates is to ensure consistency in taste, texture, and color -- and even these are guesses at best. Companies selling canned food aren't worried about unsafe food, they just don't want consumers opening a product and finding it looking or tasting bad.

Still, I can understand why you wouldn't want to open a product and find it looking or tasting "yucky." So the best thing to do, when you open a vacuum sealed food product, is to look at it and smell it. If you don't like either, then throw it out -- and this applies whether the food was sealed five decades ago or five days ago.

So go ahead and keep your Mountain House food for as long as want -- the same goes for Campbell's, Del Monte, or any other sealed product.

Please, however, don't donate to your local food shelf -- WE have to throw out that stuff!

peakbagger
04-04-2019, 14:18
I concur, unless the sealing goes bad it seems to have an indeterminant shelf life. The flavors can change a bit. Same with military MRE type meals, they put dates on them but its mostly that the tastes eventually get strange. Of course with some of the MRE meals the taste is pretty disgusting brand new.

TexasBob
04-05-2019, 12:07
I concur, unless the sealing goes bad it seems to have an indeterminant shelf life. The flavors can change a bit. Same with military MRE type meals, they put dates on them but its mostly that the tastes eventually get strange. Of course with some of the MRE meals the taste is pretty disgusting brand new.

Here is a YouTube channel you might like: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2I6Et1JkidnnbWgJFiMeHA

This guy samples MREs from around the world and the really old rations as well.

CalebJ
04-05-2019, 12:38
Didn't he get botulism at one point?

TexasBob
04-05-2019, 16:15
Didn't he get botulism at one point?

I remember he said in one video that something made him sick, I think it was a Russian MRE but I could be wrong about that. He eats stuff I wouldn't dare put in my mouth.

cliffordbarnabus
04-06-2019, 00:06
i'd open the mtn house meals. sniff sniff. seems ok? ok. put it in a ziploc, save the mtn house bag for the hot water mixation, and hit the trail.

if you see maggots, trash it!

Slow Trek
04-06-2019, 01:08
I noticed on some mountain house packages there is a date that looks laser printed on the very edge of the pouch. Had to really search to find it. Hope that helps.