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Field ration

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**1. Composition of Field Rations:**
– Field rations typically include:
– An entrée or main course
– Side dishes or appetizers
– Desserts or snacks
– Drink mixes
– Food supplements

**2. Packaging of Field Rations:**
– Field rations are stored in:
– Canned, vacuum-sealed, or freeze-dried containers
– Packages designed to prevent spoilage
– Easy-to-open packaging
– Biodegradable or compostable materials
– NATO categorizes packaging into primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.

**3. Nutritional Standards:**
– NATO reference standards for soldiers’ nutrition include:
– Protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals
– Sodium, potassium, fluoride, and iron

**4. Heating and Consumption:**
– Field rations can be heated using:
– Smokeless solid fuel, portable stoves
– Hexamine fuel tablets or gelatinized ethanol
– Flameless ration heaters
– Main courses and hot beverages should be heated to a minimum temperature, but main courses are consumable without heating.

**5. Shelf Life and History:**
– Shelf life is determined by the type and purpose of the ration.
– Individual rations are designed for 30 days’ use.
– Fresh food should be provided after 30 days, with medical screening for nutritional deficiencies.
– Military rations have a historical evolution, dating back to organized warfare and emphasizing stable and preserved ingredients.

Field ration (Wikipedia)

A field ration is a type of prepackaged military ration designed to be easily and quickly prepared and consumed in the field, in combat, at the front line, or where eating facilities are otherwise unavailable. Field rations are primarily used by military forces, though they are also sometimes distributed to civilians as part of humanitarian aid and emergency management. They differ from garrison rations and field kitchen provisions, which are intended for where proper meals can be supplied and prepared with relative ease and safety, such as in the rear where logistics are steady and fresh food can be supplied. They are similar to, but distinct from, other purpose-designed long-lasting types of food or rations such as emergency rations, humanitarian daily rations, and camping food.

The contents of a First Strike Ration, a United States Army field ration for high-energy meals in combat

Names used for field rations vary by military and type, and include combat ration, food packet, ration pack, battle ration, iron ration, or meal ready-to-eat (MRE); the latter is widely used but informal, and more accurately describes a specific U.S. field ration, the design and configuration of which has been used worldwide since its introduction. Field rations may be divided into two types: individual rations, which are intended to sustain a single soldier; and group rations, which are intended to sustain multiple soldiers in numbers ranging from a fireteam to a platoon.

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