Food Safety, RTE Meals and our U.S. Service Members

Do you know someone serving in the US Armed Forces? Ask them about the RTE foods. This abbreviation stands for Ready to Eat. They are processed to be consumed safely without heat or additional preparation, then packaged as Meals Ready to Eat. The meals developed at the Soldiers Systems Center include an entrée, desserts, snack, beverage, and a Flameless Heater.

With a shelf life of three years, foods are processed and packed considering nutritional needs, food safety, and weight of supplies carried by soldiers. Foods are freeze dried or undergo high pressure processing to eliminate bacteria. They are microbiologically tested to ensure destruction of disease-causing pathogens keeping our soldiers well-nourished and healthy


Jeremy Zenlea. Ensuring the Safety and Quality of RTE’s for U.S. Service Members. Food Safety
Magazine. December 2022

B. Susie Craig
Professor/Area Specialist–Food Safety and Health
Washington State University King County Extension