New method uses water, motion to develop delicious military food

NSRDEC's Frank DiLeo prepares to use a new retort food processing system

Frank DiLeo, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, prepares to use a new retort food processing system at the DoD Combat Feeding Directorate in Natick, Mass. Photo Credit: David Kamm

NATICK, Mass. (Sept. 17, 2013) –One of life’s greatest necessities, water, is a key ingredient for the new gentle motion retort used by the Combat Feeding Directorate at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to develop Meal, Ready-to-Eat and Tray Pack products. This simple molecule is heated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit in order to cook and sterilize foods using one of three different thermal processing methods.

After the successful “retort” process items do not require refrigeration because they have achieved commercial sterilization, the removal of certain pathogenic organisms.

The retort vessel installed at the NSRDEC in January 2013 can process 195 eight-ounce MRE pouches or 20 six-pound polymeric Tray Packs at a time using water immersion, saturated steam, water spray or water spray with gentle motion.

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