Letter Re: Food for Thought

Hello HJL and JWR,

In your recent post titled “The Survival Community’s Dirty Little Secrets”, you refer to the hucksters that seem to pop up and snare unsuspecting customers. This happened to a friend not too long ago with regards to long term food storage. He fell for the ridiculously cheap “complete one year supply” mirage. Fortunately, I had the time to educate him on calories per meal and the type of calories he needed in each before he made the purchase. This brings me to the reason I am writing you. I wanted to show him the facts, so I used chapter 9 of Nuclear War Survival Skills. No wonder this book is in JWR’s Non Fiction Must’s short list.

Those of your readers who have not yet read this free book fail to recognize how much scientific research and hard data it contains. Also, much of the information in this book is applicable to most types of scenarios. Anyone who wants a primer on long term food storage need only read chapter 9. Those who only want the solution to the problem need only glance at table 9.3. Table 17.1 will give readers a breakdown of exactly how much of the basics they need to store per person for one year. Chapter 9 also explains what nutrients will be lacking in this regimen.

Easy Answer

The easy answer to that one is obviously to purchase a supply of vitamins, which cost only a few dollars. It’s money well spent. The author, Cresson Kearny, stated he took the information in chapter 9 from another 1979 publication he wrote with K.B. Franz titled Maintaining Nutritional Adequacy During a Prolonged Food Crisis. It can also be found with any search engine, and it is well worth the read for anyone who wants all the the data. IMHO appendix C, E, and F alone are worth downloading this other free document.

Still on the subject of long term food storage, here is a question I have not yet found an answer to. I put my trust in Mountain House #10 cans because of the company’s proven track record. What other companies, if any, have a similar track record? And if there is none, what other brands can be trusted for 25 year food storage ?

In closing, I would like to thank you both, and may God bless you.

With best regards – J.L.

HJL’s Comment:

Any freeze-dried food that is properly prepared and stored should easily last the 25 years. If you are buying a brand name that has a reputation to guard, you will probably be fine. Note that sealed cans are better than Mylar bags though. The cans are more rugged and will handle the onslaught of rodents that your long-term food storage will occasionally be subjected to. However, if you live in a high humidity area, steel cans do occasionally have issues with rust. A rusted through can will destroy the contents inside. Note that the 25 year storage is also dependent upon the type of food stored. High fat or oil content foods will not have that length of storage life, no matter who makes them.


  1. Easy answer regarding #10 can long term food storage is the Mormon,s LDS Bishops Pantry. They even will ship the stuff to you if you aren’t close enough to one of their locations. They are by far the least expensive place to buy quality long term storage food. They have price lists on line and also store locations.

    They sell basic ingredients. No premixed meals.

    1. I agree. the online LDS store has been my main source of long-term food insurance. They only charge $3 shipping. I have found it a simple way to build a supply of food and am puzzled why so few take advantage of them to having long-term food insurance.

  2. Freeze Dried foods are like any other foods out there in that the quality of their food and packaging can vary so you should do your research. What you grow is always a known quantity and with the price of freeze driers coming down so much they are not a bad idea, plus you get to package what you want to, and not just what is available. If you are shopping for quality food in packaging to help insure your investment, I know that very few of them will use enamel coated cans to help prevent rusting. it can still happen, so do your research.

  3. Mountain House recently released new shelve life standards for ALL of their products: 30 years. I guess it took that long to do the testing.
    Beware, however, of the serving yields for the #10 cans. Based on daily calorie requirements, they may not go as far as you think. 1 serving of Beef Stroganhoff, for example, will not provide enough calories for a full meal.

  4. I believe one can download a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills from the web site of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. But you’re better off BUYING a copy because these are manufactured with very robust paper and binding to withstand hard, outdoor use. As in, dropping it in the mud, picking it up and washing the mud off the paper, tough.

    If you’re not willing to buy a $20 book for the priceless information it contains, you’re probably not seriously interested in readiness.

    Kearny was a great man and author who did a lot of research on equipment for soldiers serving in the Pacific theater during WWII. Later, he developed self-help civil defense because he realized the US Government would never deploy a national shelter program similar to Switzerland’s. In this arena, Kearny is without peer.
    It was his book that really moved me to build permanent shelters. We disagreed on the subject of permanent shelters vs expedient shelters. His argument is correct in that the vast majority of Americans won’t build a permanent shelter until convinced the need is real (like, 8 minutes before warheads arrive in CONUS). In my view, it’s a bit late to start rounding up expedient shelter building materials and family members, pack all of this (and your food) into a vehicle, drive to an appropriate site, and begin digging. After working very hard for several days, now (filthy dirty and stinky) climb into the trench shelter with your entire family and stay there for a week or two.
    I wanted a clean, safe, proven shelter with electricity, water, a lab-tested NBC ventilation system, where I could store copious quantities of food, water, meds, clothing, tools (let your imagination run wild, here), etc.
    Very few people will buy a corrugated steel pipe shelter instead of a ski boat or new pickup truck. As we see, few people will even buy the most useful book out there on this subject.
    There is not a lot of information on permanent shelters in the book, but the rest of it is excellent!
    Kearny didn’t write much about biological warfare in the book, as at the time, we believed the Soviets were abiding by the BW and Toxins Convention of 1972. It wasn’t until 1990 that the West learned that they (and others) were heavily invested in a massive, secret, expensive, extensive BW program involving over 60,000 scientists. So BW is a whole ‘nuther topic.
    Also, Kearny assumes a war arising out of a gradually escalating crisis, where Americans are WARNED by their own government to take precautions, and have days or weeks to prepare. I give heavy weight to the Bolt-Out-Of-the-Blue (BOOB) attack, in which you will have minutes, not weeks, of warning, or none at all.
    Buy the book.

  5. A problem with buying online from the Mormons (LDS) is Op Sec. If you order a case of Oatmeal it comes in a lovely box labeled !!!OATMEAL!!! The same goes for wheat, carrots, apples, etc. Your FedEx or UPS guy will know exactly what you ordered.

    However, if you live near a Bishops Storehouse they will sell directly to you (regardless of your religion) without the Op Sec troubles.

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