Skip to comments.Pentagon Spends $1.5 Million To Develop Its Own Jerky (that tastes like a Fruit Roll Up)
Posted on 11/25/2012 10:46:52 AM PST by drewh
he Pentagon wins a Hammer for spending money earmarked for weapons and combat gear testing on jerky available at any grocery store UPDATED 7:17 AM EST, November 23, 2012 | BY Phillip Swarts
The Defense Department's Foreign Comparative Testing program is supposed to study weapons and combat technology and determine the appropriate gear for U.S. troops. That usually means testing body armor, batteries for battlefield electronics and mine-clearing systems.
But the program strayed from its normal work recently to study the culinary skill of turning thin strips of beef into jerky. The goal, officials say, was to make a beef jerky that was more like a Fruit Roll-Up -- tastier and cheaper -- than than the traditional grocery store fare.
The project, however, cost taxpayers $1.5 million and is unlikely to improve battlefield performance. And that has left some lawmakers in Congress incredulous that the money wasn't spent on something more essential, especially in an era of soaring deficits, fiscal cliffs and impending defense budget cuts.
"While our men and women in uniform certainly would welcome new menu options, these dollars could be better spent at this time when sequestration imposed by the Budget Control Act is set to cut billions of dollars from our national defense budget," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who identified the program as an example of unnecessary spending at the Pentagon.
For doling out $1.5 million developing a snack that can be bought from the nearest grocery store, the Pentagon's Foreign Comparative Testing program wins this week's Golden Hammer, a distinction given out by the Washington Guardian to the worst examples of government misspending.
The Pentagon isn't apologetic, insisting its research into jerky is actually designed to save money. It's cheaper to produce than store-bought jerky and will store longer, possibly up to three years, the Army said. Plus, the military jerky is less salty and more nutritious to better meet troops' nutritional needs. A couple different flavors are being tested out, including salami, chipotle, turkey, smoked ham and fish.
"Warfighters like something that is meaty, tasty and healthy - a high energy product," said Tom Yang, an Army food scientist. "This will make a lot of product. It's very juicy, with whatever nutrient you want in there, and it will be well preserved."
Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins said the nation's military is always working to save taxpayers money.
"The DoD budget is aligned to strategic priorities we have identified to keep America safe and maintain the strongest military in the world," she said. "Over the past several years we have redoubled our efforts to make better use of the taxpayer's defense dollar and meet our fiscal responsibilities."
I am sure there are jerky companies in this country that they could contract with. And they would probably make them whatever they want a heckuva lot cheaper.
I prefer t-bone jerky.
Since WE paid for this, I believe at the very least, we should get access to the recipe and methods they “developed”.
Not for 1.5 million, thats chump change on federal contracts
It’s mil-spec jerky. Must be radiation resistant.
Wouldn’t it be more effective if they taught them
how to make their OWN jerky?
It’a not like it was hard or anything.
I don’t want Jerky that tastes like a fruit roll-up.
Teriyaki Jerky is as far as I want to go.
This sounds ridiculous, but IMHO, it is actually a rational spend. You need high quality, high protein, high energy food for warfighters. And good food can help to bolster morale — it is often the ONLY good thing they have when in the ####.
As to just going commercial, you’d have to pick a supplier, test the jerky for longevity and nutrition content, verify security as the production facilities (one batch of poison introduced at an insecure facility could kill a LOT of troops), etc. And if the picked supplier did’t meet specs, all that money would be wasted. Also, the chosen supplier would certainly be a political crony, not the top quality producer.
Short version: Good safe food is ESSENTIAL to warfighting, so spending money on it is indeed rational!
I don’t know, Mango/posseum jerky doesn’t sound too bad.
How about Guava/raccoon?
Don’t use bald eagle. It tastes fishy.
I suppose they would have to make some kind of
Halal version too.
Jeepers, they could have asked me for a recipe and been done with it:
Brown some extra-lean ground beef, toss in the blender along with some tomatoes and italian spices. Puree, dehydrate, voila! A beef jerky fruit roll-up that tastes like spaghetti sauce.
I will NEVER understand why the “jerkies” in the Pentagon can’t take $1.7 Million and fill up a shopping cart at Walmart with all the stuff they think the troops want!
This is a “corporate culture” issue in the government that, as long as it is OPM and NOT coming out of their own pockets, they will spend whatever they want regardless how foolish.
Back in the 90s, HBO made a movie called “The Pentagon Wars”. If you want to comprehend how relatively simple items become gargantuan money pits, find a copy of the movie and watch it . . . . . . . a-l-l t-h-e w-a-y t-h-r-o-u-g-h. It’s VERY enlightening.
The American Indians came up with this thousands of years ago. It’s called pemmican... very high energy pounded meat and fat combined with dried fruit, often blueberries. The indians would carry this along with dehydrated sweet corn when on the warpath.
Guava/raccooon is great but only if you add hot red pepper flakes.
How about Obama’s favorite? Rice-covered hot dog??? /s
IIRC, back in the 90s the DoD came up with their own energy/power bar instead of using commercially available ones. They were called “Hooah! bars” or something like that, and (again, IIRC) meant for First Strike Rations and other lightweight meal kits.
I always thought it tasted more like a cross between spotted owl and California condor, but hey.....that's just me.
Next time just call Oak Brothers or Oma’s Choice and the troops will thank you.
That will be 1.25 mil. Paypal?
Pentagon Spends WASTES $1.5 Million To Develop Its Own Jerky (that tastes like a Fruit Roll Up)
God forbid we do something nice for the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is the least we could do.
While at the same time contacting military retirees that further throat cutting is coming this next year and the victim will be military retirees.
“As to just going commercial...”
They did go commercial. They teamed up with FPL Foods for the development.
What did they develop? ‘Continuous Osmotic Dehydration’.
The link above contains the second quote I have seen from this Yang guy, saying normal jerky is to salty...which makes me suspicious there is a ‘Lets Move’ component to this (and skepical the jerky tastes good at all).
Anyway, that’s the $1.5 million voila moment. Instead of using salt to cure the meat, the meat is “...pulled through an osmotic solution [composed of sucrose/sodium chloride/water] that extracts moisture” (I’ll ignore the fact that ‘continuous osmotic dehydration’ uses sodium chloride in its no salt breakthrough dehydration method).
BTW, the Army already uses jerky in its First Strike Rations...’The use of commercial off-the-shelf products like this is one of the ways development time of the FSR was lowered.’:
So, unless this new jerky is remarkably cheaper, lighter, tastier...something, its just a classic case of a solution in search of a problem.
There is no telling what secret ingredient they wanted to test in this jerky.
I would assume that they want to get all the nutrion in as small a package as is possible to fit in the soldiers pack/gear.
Might also want to put some sort of turbo charger in it to increase strengh and endurance.
Tea Party people should be screaming about issues like this till we change the culture of washington. Who thinks that the defense Dept should be creating food products - send out to the industry a request for bids and for a variety of tastes. The same thing should be done till every dept is more effective rather than LARGER.
If you can find it in the Yellow Pages, government doesn't need to do it.
i’d like to know why this crap has not been stopped? What the heck is wrong with these folks? When does the crap stop?
Pork and little mf’ers jerky?
Beef and grease jerky¿?
Only the best c-rat flavors!