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Past, present and future of military food technology


Forbes-Ewan, C and Moon, T and Stanley, R, Past, present and future of military food technology, Journal of Food Science and Engineering, 6 pp. 308-315. ISSN 2159-5828 (2016) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]


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Coryright © 2015 David Publishing

DOI: doi:10.17265/2159-5828/2016.06.002


Food technology has been instrumental in ensuring that troops remain "fit to fight". Early food technologies produced flat bread, hard biscuits, cheese and salted meat, allowing Roman legionaries to carry rations for several days. Canning was invented in the late 18th century in response to the French Government’s offer of a substantial reward to the person whose invention would allow troops to carry their food when marching long distances. World War II saw further advances in the form of stable and palatable canned meals, compressed cereal bars, candy-coated peanuts and other innovative foods in US combat rations. Two significant technology breakthroughs in the second half of the 20th century have altered the form of military rations. Freeze drying matured as an industrial technology, allowing the production of long-life, light-weight rations. Flexible packaging, based on plastic laminates, led to reduced weight and less waste disposal through the development of retort pouched meals (meals in flexible packaging that have undergone heat sterilization), which have largely replaced metal cans in combat rations. Improvements in quality of military rations, particularly their organoleptic properties, are emerging through application of innovative technologies such as high-pressure thermal processing, pulsed electric field, and microwave assisted thermal sterilization. Research and development of "functional foods", such as those containing added essential fatty acids or probiotics offers the potential to provide combat rations that can further improve soldier health and performance.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:military food, preservation, packaging, combat rations
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Horticultural production
Research Field:Post harvest horticultural technologies (incl. transportation and storage)
Objective Division:Defence
Objective Group:Defence
Objective Field:Logistics
UTAS Author:Stanley, R (Professor Roger Stanley)
ID Code:115171
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2017-03-08
Last Modified:2017-08-30
Downloads:161 View Download Statistics

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