Canned Food Safety

canned foods
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While canned foods are nutritious and easy to prepare, it is important to handle them safely in order to avoid food poisoning and other health concerns.



  • Choose canned goods that are free from dents, cracks, bulging, leakage or any other visible physical damage.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates! Don’t purchase canned goods that are expired or dusty, as this indicates that the item has been sitting around for a while.



  • Arrange your shelves so that older cans, or ones that are reaching expiration, are at the front and new cans are placed in the back. This will allow you to save money because you won’t have to throw out expired food.
  • Store cans in a cool, dry place such as a kitchen pantry or cabinet.
  • The ideal temperature to store canned foods is between 50 and 70°F.
  • As a rule of thumb, commercially-processed canned foods can be safely used two to three years past the production date.
  • Canned fruit juice can be stored for up to three years.
  • After opening an item DO NOT store the food in the original can. Place the food in a sealed, airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days.



  • Don’t eat canned food that has a strong odor, odd flavor, is discolored, or has come from a damaged/rusty can, as the product may be contaminated with harmful bacteria.
  • For canned fruits and vegetables, it is best to drain and rinse under water to remove added sodium and sugar.
  • Heat the amount of canned food needed for one meal or snack. Do not reheat canned food more than once.


Schmutz, P.H. and Hoyle, E.H. Safe Handling of Canned Goods. Clemson Cooperative Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center. Retrieved from