What happens if you leave food in cans

Everyone knows that fresh food is healthier than canned food, but sooner or later they buy canned food . It could be a jar of olives , pate , stewed meat or green peas , which we often don’t eat at once. How to store canned food, can you put it in the refrigerator right in the jar and what other options are there?

Three Reasons Not to Leave Food in a Can

The myth that food in a can becomes dangerous (even poisonous) is very popular and is familiar to almost everyone. But we have not found scientific evidence to support this theory. However, we have identified two of the most common reasons and one of the most reasonable arguments not to leave food in a can.

Reason one (questionable): bacteria

There is no doubt that bacteria multiply rapidly wherever there is even the slightest chance. A can of food is no exception. As long as it is closed, bacteria have nowhere to come from, but as soon as the seal is broken, the process begins. However, it is important to understand that food from a can is not much different from regular food that we have prepared and put in the refrigerator, putting it in a metal container without a lid.

The only real danger in terms of bacterial infections can be a defective, so-called “bomb” jar, i.e. a jar that has swelled. But we won’t even open those, right?

Reason two (mythical): toxic metals

The fear of getting a dose of toxic substances from an open can of food goes back to the distant past, namely the 19th century, when several cases of such poisoning actually occurred in history. However, it is very important to consider that all of these cases were associated with the ingestion of lead, which has long since ceased to be used in the production of canned food.

What is a can made of today? There are several options: tin, lead, special food varnish, food polymers. All of these substances are inedible, but not poisonous either. As long as the can is intact, they do not react with the products inside. After opening, under the influence of oxygen, the metals that make up the can can oxidize and release microparticles into its contents. However, the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture believes that “corrosion takes several years in an unopened can and is not a serious concern even in an open one.” Obviously, American researchers seriously studied the issue before making such a statement.

Well, it’s quite logical: it’s unlikely that the modern food industry can allow toxic substances to be contained in food containers.

Reason three (the most realistic): change in taste

And yet, storing in an open can does change the products for the worse, that’s a fact. However, it’s not the sanitary qualities that suffer, but the taste: oxidation processes give the food specific shades that you’re unlikely to like.

What is the best way to handle canned food?

Regardless of whether you believe in the harm of oxidation, bacteria or changes in taste, all food industry workers without exception still recommend transferring food from a can to another container . It is best if it is made of glass and has a lid.

If you decide to leave the food in the jar, keep in mind that canned fish should be eaten the same day, and vegetable and meat – within three days. Any canned food outside the refrigerator can spoil in 3-4 hours.

In addition, experts advise to wash the can with soap before opening it and to use only a clean can opener . This will prevent bacteria from getting into the contents.

Unopened canned goods can be stored at room temperature. Before use, be sure to check the integrity of the container: throw the can in the trash if it is swollen, rusty, leaking, has strong dents or damaged seals.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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