What Is In That Can of Freeze Dried Food?

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
What Is In That Can of Freeze Dried Food?

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Something that has been troubling me lately is rumor that some freeze dried products are produced from ingredients that are sourced in countries whose standards of wholesomeness and cleanliness are less than what we are accustomed to in North America.

As I rebuild my own food storage from scratch, this has become a major consideration. Do I want my precious food storage to come from China where standards of sanitation and quality in food processing are lax?  I think not.

What is in that can of freeze dried food? | Backdoor Survival

Don’t get me wrong.  Not all countries have lax standards and as soon as I can verify my research, I will let you know who is on the “A” list and who is not.  In the meantime, however, I have reached out to a few prominent freeze dried food companies for an official statement on food sourcing.

First up is Mountain House.

What Is In That Can of Freeze Dried Food?

How does Mountain House source the raw ingredients in its food storage products?

“We try to source from the United States whenever possible, and the majority of our ingredients are from the USA.

When it is not possible, we only source from the highest quality producers and have stringent, safety, quality and documentation requirements. Sometimes we are not able to source certain fruits or vegetables from the United States due to the fact that they might not be in-season in the Northern Hemisphere. Our facilities are also USDA and SQF II certified.”

SQF II? What is that?

SQF II stands for Safe Quality Food Level II certification. What it means is that we have documented processes and controls to ensure that our food remains safe and of high quality. It is an industry standard certification kind of like ISO 9001 for other industries if you’re familiar with that.

It is required if you want to work with the large national food companies and retailers. They won’t do business with you if you’re not SQF certified.  Also, please know that we are regularly audited by independent third parties to ensure we maintain compliance.

Do you have anything else you would like share about your sourcing process?

We source from highly qualified vendors that me our stringent technical and safety requirements. I’ll give you an example.

When we do strawberries we use a specific variety that can only be grown in a certain area here in the US.  The demand still exists when they are not in season up here. So, we have a qualified vendor in South America who grows them in the only other place in the world where these strawberries can grow and meet our technical specifications.

That vendor happens to be right at the same parallel (latitude) but in the Southern Hemisphere instead of the Northern one where we are, and they have the exact same environmental conditions required to grow the strawberries the way we want them. That way we can get strawberries in the winter and the summer. We regularly visit our vendors and ensure that their practices are up to our very high standard.

We will reject shipments of raw ingredients from vendors we’ve used for years if that specific lot doesn’t meet our specs or if safety is a concern. If they do this repeatedly we find a new vendor. Obviously, we take food safety as a major concern. Every raw material is checked for microbial activity before we cook with it and then again after it’s been made into a meal.

This kind of strict quality control is pretty expensive.

The Mountain House Multi-Day Kits

While chatting with Kenny Larson, my contact at OFD (the parent company of Mountain House), he mentioned their new, multi-day emergency food supply kits.  Each kit includes enough food to feed one person from two to five days.  The kits are packaged in a stackable box sized so that it will fit in a small closet, pantry or even under a bed.

These kits are perfect for someone just getting started with freeze-dried food storage. or as a supplement to bulk and canned foods.  The nice thing is that the emergency meals in these kits can be prepared by simply pouring hot water in a pouch, waiting eight to ten minutes, and eating.

The Giveaway

Would you like win a Mountain House 3-Day Emergency Food Kit?  I have one available to give away to a lucky Backdoor Survival reader.  You know the drill; here is the Rafflecopter that you will use to enter this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Get a $20 Rebate

Interested in getting a rebate?

You can get $20 back when you purchase a minimum of 5 days worth of Mountain House Multi-Day Emergency Food Supply Kits from any Mountain House dealer. A single 5-Day Kit or a combo of 2-Day, 3-Day, and/or 4-Day Kits will qualify.  Here is a link:  $20 Mountain House Rebate Offer.

The Final Word

Freeze dried food is expensive so it pays to know what you are getting. In most cases, you will get what you pay for after weighing in on all factors including weight, calories, price plus shipping, and quality,

As I continue my investigation, I promise to report back with a response from the other leading freeze dried food companies.  How they respond and if they respond, should provide us with the knowledge we need to make well-informed purchase decisions.  Until then, the jury is out.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Spotlight Item: Mountain House Just-In Case… 3 Day Emergency Food Supply


This stack-able 3-day boxed kit contains a variety of popular breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees for one person. Use it alone or combine it with our Just in Case 4 Day Emergency Food Supply Kits for 1 week of food. Each box is compact making it easy to store anywhere you have room.

I carry my portable survival kit whenever I leave the house.  The nice thing about it is that it fits neatly in a pocket, day pack, glove box, or handbag.  If you are interested in more details or need assistance building your own kit, see 8 Essential Items: The Perfect Portable Survival Kit.

In the meantime, here are some items you should consider carrying with you as you travel near and afar.

BIC Classic Lighters (12): A dozen full size BIC lighters at a bargain price with free shipping. Don’t forget to test them to ensure they work!

Paracord Lanyard:  I prefer a paracord lanyard over a bracelet because I can use it’s clip to attach my whistle as well as other items that I may want to add from time to time such as a second flashlight, a Swiss army knife, pepper spray, or a flash drive (thumb drive).

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: One of my readers (James) claimed that these work great. So I bought one. Then I bought another.  All told, I have 8 of these spread out in drawers, in my emergency kits, the car, everywhere.

Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.

Windstorm Safety Whistle: This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.  I love my cheapie whistles but this is the one I would depend on for wilderness survival.

Lavender Essential Oil:  This is the Swiss army knife of essential oils. My favorite lavender oil is from Spark Naturals.  Enjoy a 10% discount with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL.

Rectangular Tin with Window: Chances are you have something similar already that can be repurposed for free.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  Too large for a pocket kit but important to have with you is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter.  At only 2 ounces (in weight), the LifeStraw is suitable for a backpack or bug out bag.  It is easy to use and requires no chemicals to remove a  minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.



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103 Responses to “What Is In That Can of Freeze Dried Food?”

  1. Is there a reason why you only did Mountain House and no other company? I’ve tried Mountain House and they were good, but I’ve tried other brands and they were too. How about giving some other companies a shot?

  2. What are some of the new meals you have available? How often do you offer new ones? Do any get discontinued and why?

  3. We tried a couple of Mountain House meals when Gaye told us in her blog that you could request free samples from the company. Tried them out when we were camping over the summer and we were really surprised at how good everything was! I really was not expecting that. We don’t have the money to stock up on Mountain House meals right now but it is something on my list.

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