US military lab working on pizza MRE good for up to three years on a shelf

Feb 17, 2014
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The food soldiers are sent out into the field with is notoriously unsavory. The MREs the US military uses are known for keeping soldiers fed when in the field, but not always for tasting good. With all the research that the military puts into weapons and vehicles, many American soldiers have long wished some of that research money would be spent on better food.

Military folks have something to look forward to with researchers at a military lab in Massachusetts working on a tasty new pizza recipe that doesn't require refrigeration. That recipe is for a slice of pizza that can sit on the shelf for up to three years and still be edible.

Pizza is something that soldiers have wanted since 1981 when the packaged MREs replaced canned food for the US military in areas where a field kitchen can't be set up. Researchers at the US Army Natick Solider Research, Development, and Engineering Center say that each year when soldiers are asked what they would like to see in their rations, pizza is the top choice.

The sauce made pizza such a difficult thing to bring to the MRE. The moisture in the sauce and cheese degraded over time and resulted in soggy pizza that was a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. the researchers have developed ways of preventing the moisture from migrating using ingredients called humectants such as sugar, salt, and syrups to bind water in the dough. The 3-year pizza also required changes to the acidity of sauce, cheese, and dough to make it harder for bacteria to live. The new pizza MRE hasn't been sampled by soldiers, but kitchen researchers say it is like a pan pizza with a crust that isn't that crispy.

SOURCE: Phys.org


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