MRE Date Code Converter

How old are your MREs? Enter the Julian Date Code below to get your MRE’s date of manufacture:


What is a Julian Date Code?

The Julian calendar originated with the military and is still used today because of its usefulness in date calculations. There are no letters in this calendar, so simple mathematics can be used (don’t worry, we won’t make you do any math).


On an MRE, the Julian Date Code is translated using the template YDDD, where “Y” represents the last digit of the year and “DDD” represents the day of the year beginning from January 1 (ranging from 001-366). Officially, MREs are not meant to last longer than 10 years, so only the last digit of the year is used. For example, if a code read “5016” it would mean the MRE was manufactured on January 16, 2015.

Get it? You don’t have to. We created the nifty form below for you to enter your Julian Date Code and figure out how long your MRE’s shelf life will be.


 An MRE date code is a 4-digit number stamped onto the outside of each MRE that helps you determine the expected shelf life. Specifically, it’s the date of production or manufacture. The photo to the right shows where this number is located on an individual MRE. The MRE date code can also be found on the outside of the MRE case.

This number is a modified Julian Date Code, and requires conversion to the Gregorian calendar (the calendar we use today) to understand when the MRE was made.

It is important to understand your MRE date code because it translates to MRE shelf life and freshness. The fresher your MREs are, the longer shelf life they will have. In other words, you want your MRE to have been manufactured as recently as possible.