Best By Dates, Inspection Dates, and Shelf Life News, Foreign MRE FAQs, and Guides
The industry standard for MREs is generally 3 year shelf life for domestic and foreign MREs. 
In general, foreign MREs use much less preservatives and additives, and also more cheese and dairy items. This is expressed as a "best by date" similar to grocery items. 
The MRE itself is dated for the item with the shortest shelf life (let's say cheese). So if the cheese has a 3 year shelf life, the MRE will list that as the best by date for the ENTIRE MRE. Many items inside that same MRE may last much longer like canned food etc. 
For the USA rations, the "inspection date" is the date which you should first check the TTI sticker on the USA MRE cases.
In the end, the terminology doesn't really change things. They all have a 3 year shelf life, and all are affected by storage conditions. 
When stored in cool dry temperatures, they will outperform their shelf life, and likewise in hot humid storage their shelf life will be shortened. 
In general, USA MREs and First Strike Rations will last longer than international MREs. 
USA Meal Cold Weather and other freeze dried rations will last even longer.


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