Ready-to-eat food or RTEs are intended to be consumed as they are. As their name suggests, they do not require additional cooking and are stored at refrigeration or room temperature. They have specific food handling guidelines.
Certain dry packaged items such as chips, crackers, cookies and trail mix blends are all ready-to-eat items which can be eaten straight of their package. Bottled condiments are in the same classification and usually require refrigeration after opening.
Sterile-packed milk products are intended to be consumed after refrigeration, but they do not have to be. These RTE items are convenient because they do not require refrigeration prior to opening, and they do not require any additional preparation before consumption.
The advantages of RTEs are the following:
a. Convenient, fast and logistically easy to distribute.
b. May be appropriate for populations who are in transit when cooking facilities are not available.