By Mr. Marques Chavez Ctr (RDECOM)January 6, 2011
SAN ANTONIO -- Technology being developed by Army food scientists may provide the American warfighters meals on the battlefield three years from when they were prepared that taste freshly made.
Army scientists have recently developed two technologies that reduce the amount of time food is exposed to heat during the sterilization process. This is significant because it enhances the flavor of food given to warfighters in Meals, Ready-to-Eat.
"The great thing about these processes is that it makes the food taste better. There is the possibility that it will taste like it was taken off the grill for three years after it has been prepared," said Jeremy Whitsett, outreach manager for the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Program, in the Army Tech Zone in support of the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Jan. 8.
"The goal is to transition those products into the battlefield so warfighters can be the beneficiaries," Whitsett added.
The new processes developed by the Army have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in production and commerce.
"Achieving the FDA approval was a major milestone. We're continuing to work with academia, as well as industry, to push this technology along, enhance its capabilities and apply it to the products that will benefit from the technology," Whitsett said.
Developments by Army scientists came out of a desire to continually improve the products for the warfighter.
"It's not that Soldiers aren't happy with the taste of MREs. We're not satisfied with what is being given to the Soldiers. As scientists and engineers, it's our job to develop new techniques that benefit Soldiers," Whitsitt continued.
Food scientists were part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's outreach effort to area high school students this week as part of the run-up to the Jan. 8 football game. The combat feeding display in the Army Strong Zone at the Alamodome served samples of food prepared for Soldiers on the battlefield.
"The food tastes pretty good. It's way better than school food," said Jose White, a student at San Antonio's Southside High School.
"It is interesting that they can produce food this good for Soldiers. I also like how they package the food and send it to Soldiers in battle," said Michael Cortines, another Southside High School student.