How to Tell if Your Canned Goods Are Still Good


Canned goods are known for their resistance to spoiling; however, they can and do go bad eventually. According to the USDA, you should store canned foods in a cool, dry place. Foods with low acid content, such as meat and vegetables, can be stored for two to five years. Foods with high acid content should be kept for a maximum of 18 months. There are a number of ways to check if the contents of a can are still edible.

Things You'll Need

  • Can opener
  • Make a visual inspection of the can. Throw out the can if the can or lid is bulging or shows signs of corrosion, the seal is broken or there is food leaking from the can. These are all signs that the contents of the can may have spoiled.

  • Open the can with the can opener. Pay attention to see if food squirts out when the can is opened. This may also be a sign that the food has spoiled. Throw the can away if this occurs.

  • Inspect the contents of the can. Pay attention to the appearance of the food. If it is unusually mushy or cloudy, it could be spoiled. If there is mold on the food, it is definitely spoiled. If it has an unusually bad odor, it is spoiled. Throw away the can if it shows any of these symptoms.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spoiled canned goods may harbor deadly bacteria. Do not eat canned food that you suspect may be spoiled.

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