The airtight sealing of foods in containers in association with heat and/or chemical treatments is a very effective method of preserving food. Foods such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, or a combination of these foods (e.g. meat and vegetable condensed soup, sauces and fruit salad) can be stored safely in airtight sealed containers.
How long can I keep canned foods?
While canned foods do not change suddenly, slow changes do occur in the container and food quality may change over time. The storage life depends on a number of factors, including conditions of storage and the nature of the food. As a general rule, the best shelf life will be obtained when canned foods are kept in a cool, dry place. For best results, it is recommended that your supplies of canned food are refreshed periodically.
How do I store canned foods at home?
Check the label of the product for any storage instructions. If storage conditions are required for health and safety reasons then the label must state these conditions.
Generally, canned foods are designed to be stored at room temperature. If storage conditions are required for health and safety reasons, then the label must state these conditions.
If instructions are not provided on the label, then store in a cool dry place. Handle canned food carefully to avoid denting or other damage which could affect the can’s seal. Rotate food in your pantry by using older stock first.
How do I select canned foods?
Always check food containers for:
- swelling and/or leakage
- rust and scratches
- broken tamper-evident seals
- dents or damage
- damaged seams (joins).
Do not purchase the food if you see any of these problems.
Inspect the container as outlined in ‘How do I select canned foods?’ before use. If there are signs of damage, do not use or taste the food.
Wipe or wash the top of the container before opening. Always use a sharp clean can opener and wash the opener after every use.
Practice good hygiene as if you were handling fresh food. Keep all food preparation surfaces and implements clean, and wash hands in warm soapy water before preparing food.
If the contents have an unusual odour or colour, or if you notice that the inside of a metal container (or lid) is rusted, throw out the contents. Do not use or taste the food.
Canned foods are often highly perishable and can spoil quickly once they are opened. Opened canned food should be treated in the same manner as fresh food, and should not be stored any longer than its uncanned version. If not used immediately, the contents of the opened container should be emptied into a clean plastic or glass container, covered and stored in a refrigerator.
What should I do if I suspect problems with these foods?
You should report any doubtful product to the manufacturer. If you have any concerns about a particular food, you could alert the food enforcenment agency in your state, territory or region.