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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Post Reply - Expired supplies can become toxic

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Topic - Expired supplies can become toxic
Posted: November 03 2008 at 9:15am By coyote
Topic: Are My Canned Foods Still Safe?
    Posted: 29 November 2007 at 9:39am
    Are My Canned Foods Still Safe?

Listen to the article

Commercially canned foods should be stored in a cool, dry place for best retention of nutrients and quality. Avoid storing next to kitchen ranges, furnaces, radiators, and steam pipes. Also protect against freezing temperatures.

What if they freeze? Is the food safe? Yes, usually. Food expands during freezing. Check the seams of the can after thawing for signs of leakage. Also check the ends to make sure they are flat again. Some breakdown in texture can occur during freezing. The food may be more mushy. If the food is to be mixed with several other foods and cooked, the texture will probably not be an issue.

Recommended storage for canned foods is usually a year. If canned properly, the food is safe indefinitely. However, nutritional value and quality may be reduced. Poor storage conditions can also reduce the quality.

Once a can is opened, the food becomes perishable. Refrigerate or freeze immediately any unused food. It is best to store food in glass or plastic containers. Acid foods especially can pick up the metal taste from a can easily.

Home canned foods should be stored in cool dry places as well. Rules for storage are the same as for commercially canned food. BE SURE the foods were canned under currently approved canning methods. If in doubt, throw it out. Do not taste the food at all. Check with your county extension office for current food preservation guides.

Karen Elliot,
Regional Specialist, Nutrition and Health Education
Jackson County, Missouri
University of Missouri Extension


Long time lurker since day one to Member.

Quote Colonel   Quote Reply Posted: 29 November 2007 at 8:23pm
Take a look at the following article that was published by the FDA:

The basic idea of this article is that properly canned foods last a LOT longer than is generally believed.

Here's a snip from the article:

Among the canned food items retrieved from the Bertrand in 1968 were brandied peaches, oysters, plum tomatoes, honey, and mixed vegetables. In 1974, chemists at the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) analyzed the products for bacterial contamination and nutrient value. Although the food had lost its fresh smell and appearance, the NFPA chemists detected no microbial growth and determined that the foods were as safe to eat as they had been when canned more than 100 years earlier.

Don't trash your older canned foods!