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Shelf Life

May 13, 2013 | 75 comment(s)

The question is regularly asked, "What is the shelf life of my food storage?"

It is important to first identify what is meant by food storage and shelf life.

Food storage that is intended to be held long-term is generally considered to be low moisture food packed in either #10 cans or in metalized bags placed within large buckets.

Shelf life can be defined in the following two ways:
Best if used by shelf life - Length of time food retains most of its original taste and nutrition.
Life sustaining shelf life - Length of time food preserves life, without becoming inedible.

There can be a wide time gap between these two definitions of shelf life. For example, most foods available in the grocery store that are dated have a best if used by date that ranges from a few weeks to a few years. On the other hand, scientific studies have determined that when properly stored, powdered milk has a life sustaining shelf life of 20 years. That is, the stored powdered milk may not taste as good as fresh powdered milk, but it retains some nutritional value and is still edible.

Secondly, it's important to understand food constituents. Food is composed of the following:

  • Calories:     A unit of measurement of energy derived from fats, carbohydrates and protein.
  • Fats:     A wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and largely insoluble in water.
  • Carbohydrates:     Simple sugars as well as larger molecules including starch and dietary fiber.
  • Proteins:     Large organic compounds that are essential to living organisms.
  • Vitamins:     A nutrient required for essential metabolic reactions in a living organism.
  • Minerals:     The chemical elements required by living organisms, other than carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen.

Minerals and carbohydrates do not change much during storage. But proteins can denature and deteriorate in quality. Fats can acquire off odors and off flavors known as rancidity. Vitamins are susceptible to destruction by heat, light, and oxidation. Importantly, even if some components deteriorate, the fat, carbohydrates and proteins still contribute calories. To prevent starvation, the most important component is calories.


Freeze Dried Food Shelf Life

Freeze dried food is excellent for long-term food storage. Mountain House® has tested some of their freeze dried foods and the results were excellent! Because of this research, they have a best if used by shelf life of 25 years. As an added benefit, freeze-drying fruits, vegetables, and meats helps maintain the foods' original shape, color, and taste.

Freeze Dried Blueberries, Strawberries, and Apples up to 25+ years* or more
Freeze Dried Broccoli, Green Peppers, and Potatoes up to 25+ years* or more
Mountain House Freeze Dried Chicken Stew, Vegetable Stew with Beef, and Chili Macaroni up to 25+ years* or more

*Stored in Ideal Conditions

Dehydrated Food Shelf Life

Recent scientific studies have shown that dehydrated food stored properly can last for a much longer period of time than previously thought. This research determined the life sustaining shelf life to be approximately 30 years.

Wheat, White Rice, and Corn up to 30+ years* or more
Pinto Beans, Apple Slices, Macaroni up to 30+ years* or more
Rolled Oats, and Potato Flakes up to 30+ years* or more
Powdered Milk up to 20+ years* or more

*Stored in Ideal Conditions

Shelf life is extremely dependent on the following storage conditions:

Storage Conditions

  • Oxygen:     The oxygen in air can have deteriorative effects on fats, food colors, vitamins, flavors, and other food constituents. It can cause conditions that will enhance the growth of microorganisms.
  • Moisture:     Excessive moisture can result in product deterioration and spoilage by creating an environment in which microorganisms may grow and chemical reactions can take place.
  • Light:     The exposure of foods to light can result in the deterioration of specific food constituents, such as fats, proteins, and vitamins, resulting in discoloration, off-flavors, and vitamin loss.
  • Temperature:     Excessive temperature is damaging to food storage. With increased temperature, proteins breakdown and some vitamins will be destroyed. The color, flavor and odor of some products may also be affected. To enhance shelf life, store food at room temperature or below; never store food in an attic or garage.


Emergency Essentials has taken every effort to pack quality Provident Pantry dehydrated and freeze-dried foods in #10 cans and Super-pail buckets, all with most of the oxygen removed. It is important for you to keep food stored at as cool and steady a temperature as possible (below 75 degrees but not freezing). This is the best and most important thing individuals can do to keep their long term food viable. If done, your storage could last 20-30+ years, depending on the product, storage conditions, and definition of "shelf life."

This post was posted in Insight, Food Storage


  • A F  |  July 18, 2013

    What is the shelf life of Provident Pantry® Buttermilk Biscuit Mix - 54 oz?

  • beprepared  |  July 22, 2013

    Hi, AF.
    Baking mixes tend to be much more susceptible to shelf life inhibitors (moisture, oxygen, and temperature), so they tend not to last as long. I’m afraid I don’t have a precise figure, but they can last many years when kept cool all of the time. Customers who live in warmer states that turn off their air conditioning in their home when on vacation have found bulging cans of baking mixes because the yeast/leavening became activated by the increase in temperature, whereas other foods are more resilient.

    The 25 year mark can still be achieved, but it takes much more care for baking mixes.

    I hope that helps!

  • CLC  |  July 29, 2013

    Once the sealed cans are open, how long are the products good for?

  • beprepared  |  July 30, 2013

    Hi, CLC. That depends on a handful of factors, so it's difficult to give an exact time frame.
    If you open a can of food and aren't planning to use it all immediately, here are our suggestions for maximizing the shelf life:
    1) Pour the unused contents into a zip-top bag and remove as much air as possible. This will help protect the food from oxygen and moisture.
    2) Return the bagged contents into the can. This will protect against light and pests.

    Ultimately the shelf life will also depend on the humidity in the air; open cans will last longer in Utah or Arizona than they will in Louisiana or Texas, just based on the humidity levels. In a dry climate, some foods can store up to one year once they're opened if they're protected from moisture, oxygen, light, and pests. In humid climates, some may only last several weeks or a few months.

    If you have a FoodSaver-type machine that vacuum-seals foods, you could repackage your food with an oxygen absorber inside and put it back in the can--that would help extend the shelf life even further.

    I hope that helps! --Sarah

  • Billy Newport  |  July 31, 2013

    The whole egg powder cans, whats the shelf life? I really miss having the shelf life of everything right there on the web page BTW, it's a serious problem with the new site.

  • beprepared  |  August 6, 2013

    Hi, Billy.
    The whole egg powder has a shorter shelf life than many of the other FD or DH products. I spoke with one of our product experts, who told me that whole egg powder is one of the most sensitive items to heat, moisture, and oxygen. It will last longer at tempteratures of 60* F or lower, but ultimately does have a shorter shelf life than something like wheat or freeze dried vegetables/fruit.
    He also told me that the food science department at Brigham Young University tested whole egg powder some years ago and found that egg powder stored for 18 years was rated quite poorly by testers. So we suggest rotating whole egg powder much more frequently than that.
    I know it's not a precise time frame, but the most honest and accurate answer we can give based on testing that we're aware of. I hope it helps! Please let me know if you have other questions. --Sarah

  • Marshall Bjorge  |  August 6, 2013

    I agree with Billy Newport. I will be purchasing my LTS food from a company that clearly states the expected shelf life.

    I am especially interested in clarified butter storage life. One website says 5 years, another says indefinitely.

  • Glenda  |  August 20, 2013

    I'd like to know what is the shelf life of the Butter Powder packed in #10 cans (2 lb. 4 oz. size)? Thanks.

  • beprepared  |  August 26, 2013

    Hi, Glenda!
    I checked with our product expert Tim, and here's what he had to say:
    "Butter is more susceptible to aging by warm temperatures. Its shelf life will be shorter than most foods due to its high fat content. Achieving a 20-30 year shelf life therefore is much more challenging and requires cooler temperatures than most other foods. I would target a shelf life of 5-10 years for this product unless it has a designated cold storage room that stays consistently below 70 degrees year round with little temperature fluctuation."
    I hope that helps!

  • Charlene  |  September 27, 2013

    Hello...Could you please clarify if your products clearly state the expected shelf life or not? Thanks...


  • Karen Rosic Privett  |  October 7, 2013

    I think Emergency Essentials is being as honest as possible on the shelf life of the products. All my cans except the milk does state a specific shelf life and no matter if you purchase from another company solely because the list the shelf life on their website doesn't mean theirs is the best. It means they are telling you what you want to hear. If you aren't going to or simply can't store the food in the temperatures and containers recommended then it doesn't matter where you buy the food from. We're talking 20-30 years here so give them a break.Even.if you got 18 years out of it that's great. I mean come on if in 29 years you opened a can and thought it didn't taste as fresh as you expected what are you going to do..ask for a refund or sue them??? Just treat the milk and egg products as if you know they may not last as long as the other items..

  • Beth  |  October 23, 2013

    What's the actual storage life of pork crumbles if kept under 70 degrees. I was thinking everything was 25-30 years then just read scrambled egg mix (whole egg powder?) was much lower so am planning 10 years on that, so now am concerned on the pork. I also bought chicken n noodles so is that 25 yrs or not?

  • Beth  |  October 23, 2013

    Can you tell me how to read the numbers stamped on the bottom of the #10 cans? I thought there would be a "best by" date but can't figure it out.

  • beprepared  |  October 24, 2013

    Hi Beth!
    Your Pork Crumbles can store for 25-30 years if they are stored at room temperature (70 degrees like you have them at currently) and are protected from light, oxygen, and moisture. Your food can last this long in these conditions because they are packaged for long term storage. With the Chicken n Noodles, the noodles in the pack are most likely dehydrated (and this is not a bad thing! some foods like noodles store better when dehydrated than freeze dried.) Depending on the type of packaging and also on protection from temperature, light, oxygen, and moisture your chicken n noodles can last for up to 25-30 years in a stainless steel can or for about 7 years in a metallized pouch like our Mountain house pouches. Storing the chicken n noodles in a #10 can will help it last for 25-30 years. Hope this helps!

  • beprepared  |  October 24, 2013

    Hi again, Beth!
    The stamped numbers on the bottom of our stainless steel #10 cans are production codes for the product. They do not relate to shelf life and do not indicate a "best by" date.

  • Jack Strock   |  November 9, 2013

    Angela, thanks for your answers and the info on your food storage page. I found them to be honest and they have helped me.

  • beprepared  |  November 12, 2013

    Jack, No problem. I'm glad I could help.

  • Kaya  |  December 2, 2013

    Hi Angela, I purchased the 1year supply containing egg power, scrambled eggs , scrambled eggs with ham and bacon, milk, ice cream,etc. At that time, both the site and catalog would certainly lead one believe that the 25 year shelf life would mean 25 years. When I placed the order I asked the sales associate and was told that in steady "ideal"temps of around 60 degrees,the shelf life would indeed be 25-30 years. There was never a mention of anything effecting shelf life than the temp and light.Now , years later, i find as for the foods mentioned above, this is not the case. Since many of the meals contain egg and milk why are they not effected as well ? Thanks,Kaya

  • beprepared  |  December 6, 2013

    Hi Kaya,
    Sorry that it took me a while to respond. I wanted to make sure I was finding the right info for you. The sales associate you spoke with was correct, temperature does play a role in effecting the shelf life of your food storage. Ideally, you want to store items in an area that won’t get extremely hot. Also, as the Shelf Life article suggests, oxygen, moisture, light, and temperature all play a role in effecting the shelf life of your food. Protecting food storage against these elements creates ideal conditions to maintain the shelf life of the food. In ideal conditions, your food is safe to eat for up to 25-30 years. However, naturally, over the years, the food may lose some of its crisp flavoring, as is true of any food be it food storage or not. But this does not mean that the food is not good to eat. So it all comes down to storage conditions. Food Storage foods containing dairy or egg will be effected just the same as any other food storage products if they are not stored in ideal conditions. So it all comes down to storage conditions--if the food storage items containing egg and milk are not stored in ideal conditions (if moisture gets into it after opening, if we don't seal the container tightly and air gets in, if it's in a hot environment, etc.) those foods can/will be effected just the same as scrambled eggs and milk over time.

  • Jake  |  December 28, 2013

    Earlier this year I spoke with a USDA supervisor about shelf life because claims vary so much from one food storage company to another. He stated that any shelf life claim beyond 2 or 3 (can't remember which) years is not regulated due to difficulty and cost of determining it. He said huge companies like Hershey's will spend enormous amounts of time and money just to determine their cocoa powder will keep good taste for at least 3 years, then set the best by date 6 months earlier. He said multiple ingredient items are much harder to figure out because over the course of years ingredients interact. Based on what the USDA supervisor said and the impression he was conveying, setting a definite shelf life many years out is mostly about marketing in the food storage industry and says little about real life usability that far out under real life conditions.
    I personally appreciate how Emergency Essentials explains it above.

  • Sharon Czarnecki  |  January 2, 2014

    Could you please tell me the shelf life of the Provident Pantry peanut butter?

  • beprepared  |  January 7, 2014

    Your Peanut Butter Powder will last up to 20+ years if it is unopened and stored in proper conditions (protected from light, oxygen, moisture, and extreme temperatures—too hot or too cold). Once the container is opened, you’ll want to follow the instructions found at: http://beprepared.com/blog/635/how-long-does-dehydrated-or-freeze-dried-food-last-after-opening/ to ensure freshness. But the instructions on the can say that when reconstituting you use oil to get the familiar peanut butter texture. Once it has been reconstituted with oil, we recommend keeping it refrigerated for best freshness. Use it within one to two weeks. Since it does not have any additives or preservatives (even salt) to help extend the life of the product on the shelf, this is why we say to refrigerate. Hope this helps!


  • Bryan Nelson  |  January 7, 2014

    I noticed the new pancake mixes, blueberry and apple cinnamon, do not contain egg product, apparently at the expense of the amount of protein per serving. Was this done to extend the life of the product? I have 10 cans of the Six Grain Pancake Mix which contains buttermilk powder and whole egg powder. It has always been stored year round at 75 degrees. Should I be concerned about it shelf life?



  • Rosa Johnson  |  January 9, 2014

    I am new to food storage and wonder if people create food storage rooms in their basement to create the best possible environment? I understand the need to keep low moisture but in the summer with the AC on, I have to run a dehumidifier in the basement. Any suggestions?

  • Greg  |  January 14, 2014

    I have read much about the expected shelf/life sustaining lifespan when stored under the appropriate conditions. Is there a relative correlation when stored above ideal conditions. If the packages are stored in a place (outside) that reaches 110 degrees in the summertime can we expect half of the expected shelf life? Or are all bets off?

  • beprepared  |  January 15, 2014

    Hi Bryan,

    Sorry it has taken me some time to respond. Thanks for your patience. The reason why these new pancake mixes do not have egg is because we switched suppliers and the recipe changed. So it was a change in recipe and not purposefully done to extend the shelf life. However, one of our product specialist has researched and found that not having dairy or eggs in a mix can extend the shelf life to 20+ years (of course, this is when stored in cool, dry conditions). Through our time in the industry, we've found that the life of baking mixes, even with dried eggs in the ingredients are storing for longer periods of time than we originally thought ourselves (we originally said 5-7 years, but have tested and found out otherwise). So in answer to your question, we suggest to keep food stored below 75 degrees (we generally recommend to store at 60 degrees or cooler). I would recommend a sooner rotation date. I would suggest closer to 15 years. Studies show that a 10 degree increase can affect the life substantially.


  • beprepared  |  January 15, 2014


    Thanks for your comment. Yes, many do create a food storage room or pantry in their basement (or similar area) because the temperature is typically a cool and constant temperature which is ideal for long-term storage. Humidity is actually only a problem once the can has been opened. We always advertise and recommend cool and dry because humidity is a major factor, but really only after the product has been opened. Our cans are metalized and enamelized to help prevent rust and to protect your food until it has been opened. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-999-1863. Thanks.

  • beprepared  |  January 15, 2014

    Hi Greg,
    As we know, temperature does play a major role in the longevity of food. Extreme changes in temperature may have the most impact. For example, here in Utah (where EE is located) outside would be the worst place to store food. We have temperatures well below freezing in the winter months and in the summer it can be over 100 degrees. Extreme temperature like 110 degree weather is bad, but it is temperature fluctuation that makes the food's nutrition and quality decrease drastically (freezing and thawing breaks down the food's cell structure). So if fluctuation is occurring with the temperature of your food, all bets, my friend, may in fact be off. To see how temperature affects food, view the chart on MRE’s found at: http://beprepared.com/insight/3496/meals-ready-to-eat-mres/ Even though this chart is for MRE’s, it gives you an idea of how a high temperature can decrease shelf life significantly. Hope this helps!


  • Linnie B.  |  February 5, 2014

    2 questions for you today! :)
    1). What is the shelf life (under best circumstances) for the Apple & Orange Drink Mixes?
    2). Do you make any of the drink mixes without artificial sweeteners (like Aspartame)?

  • beprepared  |  February 7, 2014

    Hi Linnie,

    Under best circumstances, the shelf life on our Apple and Orange drink mixes is 20 plus years (that's if stored in a cool, dry place with a constant cool temperature). In answer to your second question, our Orange, Peach, and Grape drink mixes do not contain aspartame. Our Creamy Select drink mixes do contain aspartame. Hope this answers your question.


  • Jeff Fox  |  February 13, 2014

    I have a 25lb bag of rice in an enclosed 5 gal. storage container. what is the best and safest way to not have it spoil.. Tnx Jeff

  • beprepared  |  February 17, 2014

    Hi Jeff,
    The Shelf Life article talks about the enemies of food storage: oxygen, light, moisture, and temperature. So making sure your rice is stored in a cool, dry, dark air will help to preserve it in the long run. Also, storing your rice in a metallized bag like this http://beprepared.com/metallized-liner-for-buckets.html?&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B933 and putting that bag into your five gallon bucket will add an extra layer of protection to your rice as well.


  • Mary  |  February 18, 2014

    I have a large supply of milk in the pails. It has never been opened. I have placed a thermometer in my food pantry in the basement and it consistently reads 65 degrees. McGovern this temp., how long do you think my milk, butter, cheese, and egg products will be very tasty?

  • beprepared  |  February 19, 2014

    Hi Mary,
    Thanks for your question. Over time food can decrease in both nutrition and taste, but the shelf life that we give to products takes taste into consideration as well. We recommend storing your dried milk, butter and cheese cool and dry (your temperature is great) and plan on using within 20 years. Dried eggs are best to use within 7 years. Within that time frame your food should retain much of its nutrients and most of its flavor. In fact, we talk with customers on a regular basis who are surprised when they try their older food and tastes just like fresh product. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

    Emergency Essentials

  • Michael  |  March 1, 2014

    What is the approximate shelf life of the low fat granola, assuming it is stored in the correct environment (60 degrees with low humidity and no light). Thank you!

  • Kathie  |  March 1, 2014

    Could you tell me what the shelf life of your baking powder is? Thank you.

  • beprepared  |  March 4, 2014

    Hi Michael,

    The shelf life of the low fat granola is 20+ years.Since you are storing your granola in 60 degrees with low humidity and no light, it should last for this time frame. However, if you would like to ensure the freshness of the granola, you'll want to store it in a metallized bag inside of your #10 can. This acts as an extra layer of protection and will help it to preserve its freshness a bit longer.


  • beprepared  |  March 7, 2014

    Hi Kathie,

    Thanks for your comment. The shelf life for your baking powder is 20+ years if stored in proper conditions (not exposed to light, oxygen, moisture, and excessive temperature changes--really hot or really cold areas).In order to prolong the freshness of your product, store it in a metalized bag found here: http://beprepared.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=metalized+bag&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B1038 after opening.


  • Susan  |  March 30, 2014

    I have both the #10 cans and have used the metallized bags with oxygen absorbers and placed in the pails. Do they both have the same shelf life? If placed in the right conditions. Thank you

  • beprepared  |  April 1, 2014

    Hi Susan,
    Yes, both the #10 cans and metallized bags with oxygen absorbers placed in pails will have the same shelf life if stored in the right conditions.

  • Steve  |  April 1, 2014

    First- the above is a valid e-mail address.
    Now to my question- Is there any salvage to MREs that are over 20 years old?

  • beprepared  |  April 2, 2014

    Hi Steve,
    The recommended shelf life for MREs is 7 years just because of the type of packaging they're stored in. It will be good for 7 years if they are not in fluctuating temperatures (extreme hot to extreme cold) and stored in a cool dark place. This is the recommended. To learn more about MRE shelf life, check out this article http://beprepared.com/insight/3496/mre-meal-ready-to-eat-shelf-life/. In this article, you'll see that there may be some salvage to MREs over 20 years old. But check out what the article has to say about that. To stay on the safe side, rotate them every 7 years.

  • Melinda  |  April 29, 2014

    Purchased 2 cans of Provident Honey Cornbread muffin mix in Feb. 2011. (Only 3 years old). Kept at a steady 65 degree temp in a dark storeroom. Both are now bulging, I assume the yeast/leavening has activated. Is the mix still usable or should they be thrown out?

  • beprepared  |  April 30, 2014

    I am sorry this happened to you after only having the product for such a short time. Please call our customer service line at 1-800-999-1863 for further assistance. They will be able to help you.

  • Rich  |  May 11, 2014

    Any idea what a reasonable shelf-life expection would be for your canned popcorn (such that it would still pop) when stored 75-85F? I've had no problems with other popcorns when stored in the frig for up to 2 years, but no idea how it would be affected by canning with oxygen absorber.

  • beprepared  |  May 14, 2014

    Hi Rich,
    The shelf life for canned popcorn is up to 30 years at lower temperatures, but we recommend rotation to ensure freshness.

  • Jenn  |  May 24, 2014

    @beprepared, on the popcorn question I think you may want to do more research on that... Popcorn needs to maintain a suitable amount of moisture to enable the corn to pop. After all its the moisture that creates steam when heated and allows it to pop. I have found that after 5 years no matter how it was stored my popcorn didn't pop very many kernals. Not your brand specifically but in general. Not to worry though if you find it just didn't pop satisfactory you could grind the rest and use like cornmeal. Also for those who are worried about dates and if they really last as long as stated...there is a couple of companies that have been in business since the 70's and have been able to prove their products lasted as long as predicted by opening up products they saved over the years and tested them.

  • Linda   |  May 25, 2014

    I've read a lot here about shelf life but I see nothing about "how to tell when it's gone bad/should it be thrown away?" Any guidelines for this?

  • beprepared  |  May 27, 2014

    Thanks for bringing this up. The main reason we said that our popcorn can last for up to 30 years is because the main reason that we sell popcorn for long-term storage is for grinding and creating corn meal, not necessarily for popping. Thank you for telling us about the 5 year issue with for popping corn. We will look into testing this with our own products. In the mean time, has anyone else found that they've had a similar issue with popcorn?

  • beprepared  |  May 27, 2014

    This is a good idea for a blog post, I will pass it on. A couple of signs to tell if your food has gone bad are that it has a strong smell (that is NOT appealing), the can may be bulging (looks bloated), the food itself is discolored (for instance, we were making recipes using zucchhini and it was so old that it was brown--don't worry, we requested a new can!), and the taste (the flavoring is off, or non-existent).

  • radarphos  |  June 29, 2014

    I appreciate your comments to readers about shelf life. However, I strongly believe shipping temperatures have an effect on shelf life though this concern is largely outside of your control. I always wonder how many years I have to take off of shelf-life for the potential three+-day summertime shipment, when purchases may bake at 120 degrees F in a semi-trailer before arriving at my house. I also realize that this heat problem is too complicated to comment upon, because if the shipping days were cloudy, then many items would not overheat; and if the boxes I ordered were under other boxes they would be partially insulated in a hot trailer.

    I believe your Co. philosophy. But my budget requires that I accumulate over a two-year period to have enough for a 3-6 month emergency food household supply prior to beginning to eat from that supply and rotate items. So, at any given point in my emergency storage supply my stuff is already up to 3 years old, or longer (depending upon how long it may sit in your storage area).

    Can customers request (and purchase) that canned products be wrapped in heat reflecting foil wraps, within the box, prior to shipment in order to minimize heat during shipping? I would appreciate any comment your experts may share on how shipment heat affects shelf-life and strategies that may moderate that concern. I would order more product and faster if I could resolve this issue. What I do now, instead, is dehydrate as much foods as I am able during summer by growing my own, or going to Farmer Markets.

  • jean   |  July 13, 2014

    I read this somewhere on the internet......Popcorn has a lot of natural moisture inside its kernel. When you heat up the kernels, the moisture that’s trapped inside bursts open and creates fluffy white 'popped corn'.

    Sometimes kernels of popcorn seem to lose their ability to pop. This is because they are losing their natural moisture. To fix this we need to restore the moisture into the kernels The easiest way to rehydrate the kernels is to take a jar or ziplock bag the popcorn. Add some water to it. You should add about one tablespoon of water to every three cups of dry popcorn. The popcorn and water need to sit for a few days so the water can be absorbed. Make sure that during those few days you shake the jar or bag periodically. After 2 or three days the moisture should be absorbed and the popcorn should be ready to use and will pop like a newly opened container.

  • beprepared  |  July 14, 2014

    Thanks for the tip. Have you tried this method out?

  • beprepared  |  July 21, 2014

    Thanks for your comment. Sadly, we currently do not offer a shipping option with heat reflecting foil wraps. Typically, our products will ship to customers quickly enough that heat is not a major issue. However, this is a very good suggestion and something we should consider. I will pass your suggestion on to our operations manager to see what we can do to better prepare our products for temperature while shipping.

  • Patamuus  |  July 26, 2014

    I have several of the Mountain House bagged meals. Let's take one for example: the Rice and Chicken meal. I store them in my basement (humidity controlled and about 65 degrees). If I take a bag of this meal with me on a backpacking trip, in hot weather, how long would I expect it to be good to eat? Would the heat degrade it within a couple weeks?

  • beprepared  |  July 29, 2014

    Hi Patamuus,
    Great question. First off, how long is your camping trip? Since you did a great job at storing your pouches in a controlled temperature, the pouch should be fine to eat on a camping trip lasting a couple of weeks. The main issue is a constant change in temperature during long term storage. So let's say you had these pouches stored for 6 months, but they were in a place where it was extremely hot and extremely cold over this long period of time. Then, there would be an issue with it going bad or already being bad before you go on a short outdoor camping trip. The main issue is long term storage and the conditions it's been kept in before. Also, Mountain House pouches have a shorter shelf life in general than cans. Mountain House Pouches have a shelf life of about 7 years. So if you've had the pouches stored for longer than that, that would also play a role in the pouches going bad sooner.

  • beprepared  |  August 13, 2014

    That is a good idea. I will pass this on to the product specialist and see what he thinks.

  • fan4you2  |  August 13, 2014

    Is there any way to put the "possible" shelf life of items right on the site so we can know when shopping (or even the can). I have read the shelf life article and everything I have questions about are not listed--things like the bread mixes, beef crubles, instant potatoes, and many more. Thank you for you time and consideration!!

  • Summer  |  August 20, 2014

    Please under Additional Info put the shelf life of product. We have to search your entire site and then have to read all of the comments to see if the question has already been answered. I have to go to other seller's websites to see what they say. I would rather look at your site and buy from you. You do have the best prices around. It is just a hassle. Thank you

  • DonnaB  |  August 21, 2014

    I know this question has probably been asked and answered, I just couldn't find an exact reference for it. My food pantry is in the basement. The temps range over the year between 55 and 70, approx. Unfortunately, we live in a humid climate. If the packaging from you is unopened, will the humidity percentage make a difference? Or is it only a factor after your packing has been opened? Thanks!

  • beprepared  |  August 25, 2014

    Great idea. I will talk to our product specialist and see if we can start adding the shelf life of the products into the additional info tabs of the product descriptions.

  • Paul Plominski  |  September 2, 2014

    Having ordered your products over the past 5 years or so, I have only recently began writing the date of arrival on each of the case boxes. I'm trying to keep tract of older cases from newer purchased ones, so I can consume the older cans/cases first. I have yet to find a "manufactured date" or "canned on date" on any of your products and I know some cases have been inadvertently been mixed with older product. What is the possibility of having the 'date of canning' stamped on the can so we consumers can keep tract of the products we have on hand... the lot numbers would need a key for us to use to determine the dates.

  • Thomas W  |  October 6, 2014

    I know storing food or Freeze-Dried in a cool dark place enhances shelf life but what about in the refrigerator?

  • Deb  |  October 7, 2014

    Let me say, I truly appreciate your efforts to honestly address shelf life and storage issues. In that light I would like to add my voice to encourage the idea of adding specific info and/or links to such info the product pages. Being somewhat new to these products, I have found it difficult to properly label a 'best if use by' dates for my personal stock. I confess that I only found this page because an Amazon customer was kind enough to include it in a review... A search from your home site did not reveal it! That is a problem. Even a dedicated link\dropdown (on the home page) to these specific topics would be most helpful. As a customer it IS difficult to plan and spend wisely so, I must look to you for basic product information that is imperative to my purchase decisions.
    May I also humbly ask about your spice and sauce mixes? Am I correct in surmising that Alfredo Sauce mix will fall into the somewhat shorter shelf live category? How about the #10 cans of cheese I have purchased? Will straight #10 cans of flour hold up well? Are Spaghetti Seasoning and Tomato Powder considered more self-stable items? Please forgive me for asking so many questions. Thanks!

  • Deb  |  October 7, 2014

    Just as I actually began shopping again I noticed that links HAD been added to the products under the additional info tab for some (but not all) items. Bravo! I would still strongly encourage direct links on the home page for both current and potential customers...So when folks like me want info to help in planning the source will be obvious.

    All the Best, Deb V.

  • Memorial Rifle Range  |  November 3, 2014

    I built a small insulated room 12 x 10 In the coolest part of my small basement and to prevent it from getting warm in the winter (from the furnace) I added a small blower to provide outside winter air in with a thermostat set at 55. it never gets warmer than 65 in the summer and is 55 from fall to spring, I think this will come close to giving me full life expectancy. I kept construction cost very low as I don't have much in the way of extra money but felt this was an important investment to preserve my food investment. it also keeps my vegetables and other non storage type foods in good condition. I don't open the door when it is warm outside the room so I have to plan. I hope to get one of those Remote AC units some day for the room if I can find a good cheap used one for this purpose. I don't have AC for my little house but it does stay cool in the basement if I am careful about keeping it closed up in the warm months.

  • Lee  |  November 6, 2014

    Is the shelf life for a given product the same whether stored in a #10 can or the #2.5 can? Thanks for your insights!

  • beprepared  |  November 12, 2014

    Hi, Lee.
    There should be no difference between the two. Both are processed the same way, and both include an oxygen absorber.
    The only difference I can think of is after they're opened, since a 2.5 can would be used up much more quickly. They would still have the same shelf life, but some people may not realize how to properly store the food once it's opened to optimize the shelf life.
    Since I live alone, if I need to open a #10 can, I open it, use what I need, and immediately pour the rest of the food into a zip-top or food saver bag, get as much air out as I can, seal it, and put it back inside the can with the lid closed. That helps create as ideal an environment as possible after breaking the original seal.
    I hope that helps!

  • beprepared  |  November 12, 2014

    That's a great idea--nicely done!
    I don't have those kind of building skills, but I have a serious appreciation for people who do.

  • beprepared  |  November 12, 2014

    Hi, Deb!
    Thanks for your input--I'll speak with our web manager to make this page easier to find. As far as your questions go, I checked in with our product manager, and yes, your guesses are correct. Because Alfredo Sauce and cheese are higher in fat content, their shelf life is shorter. Tomato powder and spices will last longer. I'll see if I can get some more precise date ranges for the items you're asking about.

  • beprepared  |  November 12, 2014

    Another condition that creates an optimum storage area is that it's dry. That would be my primary concern with the refrigerator; also, if the power goes out there will be a pretty significant change in temperature. Since consistency is also ideal, I would say avoid using the fridge to extend the shelf life of your long-term foods.

  • beprepared  |  November 12, 2014

    Paul, we now print the date of manufacture as follows: Jun 02 2014. That will be followed by a two-digit batch number.
    So product that you order now will have that updated number. I hope that helps!

  • beprepared  |  November 12, 2014

    Hi, Donna.
    The only way the humidity becomes a factor on unopened foods is if the food is packaged in cans that are prone to rust. Eventually that will happen to all cans, but ours are enameled to help prolong the shelf life, even in humidity.
    I hope that helps!

  • Christy  |  November 17, 2014

    I have purchased a can of your Instant Nonfat Dry Milk and understand the shelf life will be 20 years if stored properly. Once I've opened the can, how long will it last if stored properly?

  • beprepared  |  December 5, 2014

    Hi, Christy.
    It depends on how humid your area is, and the storage temperature. But generally speaking, if you just put the plastic lid back on the can as-is, it could last up to 3 months. If, however, you pour the milk powder into a zip-top bag, squeeze out the air, and put the whole thing back inside the can, it could last at long as 6 months after opening. Hope that helps you get the most out of your powdered milk!

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