This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
From: Dunross@dkeep.com (A. T. Hagan)
(Situation 1) Grains, beans, pasta (off the shelf) stored in airtight
plastic containers in a dark, dry environment at a temp of between 55 and
In that temperature range and if they are kept DRY, in well sealed, air-
tight containers with no bugs included then your beans and whole grains
(excluding brown rice discussed elsewhere) then they ought to be good for
three to five years. I'd assume three and rotate them out. Use dessicant
to keep the atmosphere they're in dry. I don't recommend keeping white
flour pasta for more than a year at the most under the above storage con-
(Situation 2) Canned food (commercial-off the shelf) in airtight, waxed
cardboard boxes in the same environment as the above.
Recently discussed here, you might want to try to pick up the last week or
two's traffic from this newsgroup. Cans are good about six months from time
of purchase. Inspect the cans to be certain they're sound and inspect again
before opening to be certain nothing is bulging. Cool and dry are the im-
portant conditions here. I'm told that high acid foods are canned with a
different kind of liner in the can so they'll keep better, but I have no
hard information on that.
(Situation 3) MRE's in the same environment as the above.
I don't have a lot of personal experience with MRE's other than the fact that
I don't much care for the taste so I'll leave others to comment.