Pizza That's Edible For Years and Other Foods That Last a Lifetime

How foods can last forever (almost.)

ByGillian Mohney
February 15, 2014, 2:08 PM

Feb. 15, 2014— -- Scientists have done it again and invented a new kind of pizza that never ages.

Well, it does, but very, very slowly.

For decades soldiers have been asking for pizza as an option for their Meals Ready to Eat or MRE, which are given to soldiers hitting the battlefield with few options for hot food.

Finally researchers at the military's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, which is tasked with developing these meals, have figured out a way to send pizza out to the troops.

"We're finally cracking the scientific code [on] how to get bread and sauce and cheese to live together happily in a package," said Jeremy Whitsitt, the team leader of the business operations team at the center.

But Whitsitt said pizza is just one of hundreds of foods that they've developed to last as MREs. The carefully calibrated foods have to last for at least three years (under 80 degrees) and offer a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, fat and calories.

While the foods are deemed acceptable for only three years, Whitsitt said in theory the food is safe to eat indefinitely as long as the packaging isn't tampered with. Although he warns there's no guarantee that the taste or nutritional content will be any good.

"If you have a case of MREs sitting in your basement, theoretically you could open one five years from now and it would taste great," said Whitsitt. "It'll sustain you and deliver calories."

To celebrate the invention of long-lasting pizza, we've run down a few favorite foods that last forever (or at least a few years).

Mocha CappuccinoWhitsitt said one thing people may be most surprised about is the drinks available in MRE's. Soldiers can enjoy a dehydrated mocha cappuccino—as long as they've got a way to get some hot water.

To keep the drink shelf-stable, it's dehydrated. "If there's no water present, nothing is going to grow," said Whitsitt.

PHOTO: Mocha Cappuccino
Mocha Cappuccino
Getty Images

Ice CreamThe military has unfortunately not added ice cream to MREs, but fortunately the Astronaut Food Company has you covered. The company that originally provided space-safe food for NASA astronauts in the 70s now has developed "astronaut ice cream" for those with a sweet tooth.

According to the company, the ice cream is safe for at least three years but will slowly degrade in flavor and could spoil over time, basically in about seven to ten years.

PHOTO: Astronaut Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Astronaut Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

PizzaThe "holy grail" of MRE may have finally arrived.

Military scientists are experimenting with pizza in bags that would be available to soldiers on the go.

Weird Foods From Around the World

For a long time pizza was a problem because the tomato sauce would creep into the crust, resulting in a soggy, disintegrating slice.

The pizza will be good for at least three years, but there's no word on what kind of toppings are available.

PHOTO: A packet containing a slice of prototype pizza is displayed by public affairs officer David Accetta at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, in Natick, Mass., Feb. 6, 2014.
A packet containing a slice of prototype pizza is displayed by public affairs officer David Accetta at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, in Natick, Mass., Feb. 6, 2014.
Steven Senne/AP Photo

Spaghetti Before pizza takes over, soldiers' favorite long-lasting meal was a simple dish of spaghetti and meat sauce, according to Whitsitt.

But the pasta options weren't limited to just red sauce. Whitsitt said they expanded the options to include chicken pesto and tortellini dishes.

"People hear about Army or military food and think it's all biscuits and mystery meat," said Whitsitt. "It's definitely not the case."

PHOTO: Spaghetti
Getty Images


O.K., this one was for fun. Even though some people think that Twinkies are an everlasting food, that rumor is false.

The actual shelf life is just 45 days. But even that's an improvement. Before they were reintroduced in 2013 Twinkies lasted only a paltry 26 days on the shelf.

Getty Images

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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