Subsistence, FEMA partner to provide nutritious meals before hurricane season

By Alexandria Brimage-Gray Defense Logistics Agency

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In preparation for hurricane season, the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested the assistance of the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence supply chain to aid them in providing more nutritious pre-packaged meals to be distributed during natural disasters.

“We wanted to ensure low sodium content and a reduced amount of high sugar and snack type ingredients to provide highly nutritious meals to disaster survivors,” a FEMA spokesperson said.

 Harry Streibich, chief of the Operational Rations division, and his team worked with vendors this spring to award contracts in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.

Streibich says the meals are built to order and his team has 12 vendors in place who are qualified to support. 

“When [FEMA] requests five million meals, I have a list of vendors and their total output of meals per day to award contracts to ensure FEMA has meals on ‘day one’ and continuously as needed after a natural disaster,” he said.

Streibich likens the current commercial meals to a boxed lunch, including an entrée, snack and dessert that can serve an individual or a small family of three to four.

“They have different components like cans of beef stew, potato chips, a pouch of tuna, tortillas, and [meal] replacement bar, he said.”

Under the new requirement, the standard components of the meals will remain the same, however a few items were removed from the menus.

“In the new meals there are no candy and nuts due to possible allergic reactions,” Streibich said.

At this time, there are no orders from FEMA to utilize the new requirements during this hurricane season.

“The team and I are ready if and when FEMA places an order. We are partners with them and we are very happy to work with them and the vendors on this new requirement to meet their needs,” Streibich said.