I work in the food packaging industry, so let me explain what those freeze dried meals are. They cook the meals, then freeze and evaporate off much of the moisture. the food is then packaged in foil or barrier film (EVOH or some other polymer that blocks oxygen). The package is flushed with nitrogen gas to <1-3% oxygen and an oxygen scavenger sachet is thrown in. The sachet has iron particles (along with a humectant for a dry product like this) that rusts and absorbs oxygen. The package is then sealed. Foil (aluminum) is a perfect barrier...as along as it is perfect.
The foil can be folded/dented and get pinholes or the seals can have leaks. The oxygen that comes in can overwhelm the scavenger sachet and result in oxidation/rancidity of fats and proteins. This can produce a range of off-flavors (cardboardy, painty, soapy, turpentine, etc.). http://multisorb.com/technicallibrary/activepackaging.html
If the sealing and film is maintained, then the food can be good for several years. If there is a leak, then you can have a problem. The package may have looked perfect, but they call it a "pin"hole for a reason.
This can allow oxygen and moisture to come in. That will cause off-flavors. Good news...botulism only develops in anaerobic conditions.
When you want something to last more than 10 days you take a chance. When you want something to last longer than 6-12 months you take a bigger chance. You did the right thing to smell it, the other poster did a better thing to have a friend taste it!