Can you eat expired canned tuna?

In this article, we answer the following question: Can you eat expired canned tuna? We discuss how long does tuna cans last, how to store them correctly, and whether food from damaged cans is dangerous.

Can you eat expired canned tuna?

You can eat expired canned tuna years after it is out of date. They are packaged so that you can keep them for a long period of time. Their expiration date is generally 2 to 5 years. But beyond this date, if the can is not damaged, you can consume the contents without risk to your health. 

Canned foods are well protected from germs and external aggressors, but if there is even the slightest hitch, it can be dangerous during or after the expiration date. Preserves even if they keep for years, are not eternal either. Over time, the packaging will age, you have to be careful. Always check before consumption that the box is not dented, rusted, or deformed and that its contents have an odor and appearance that does not appear suspicious.

How to check expired tuna cans

There is a risk that some manufacturers may falsify the expiration date, but if you shop in trusted stores with verified merchandise, you should not have any unpleasant surprises. However, it is good to know that the clearest indication that the can has expired is the bulky appearance of the can. If it’s swollen – throw it away!

Canned food can be damaged during transport or kept in the sun or near strong heat sources and the contents degrade immediately.

Expired cans crackle when opened and have an unpleasant, pungent, or sour odor. When opened, a liquid with an uncertain color may gush from them, a sign that it has been infested with various bacteria and has come under pressure.

According to the latest studies carried out by the US Food and Drug Administration, this type of food can be kept in good condition for up to approximately 100 years. Of course, before ingesting any type of substance, it is best to make sure if the container has a leak or a point where its integrity may have been damaged. In that case, ingestion would be harmful to our bodies.

How long does canned tuna last once open?

After opening canned goods, store the product in the refrigerator. High acid canned goods such as tomato products, juices, fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, and foods in vinegary sauces can be stored for 5 to 7 days. 

Low-acid canned goods (such as meat, poultry, fish, roast beef sauces, casseroles, soups, beans, carrots, corn, pasta, peas, potatoes, and spinach) can be stored for 3 to 4 days. Although the food is safe to store in the can, it will keep flavor better if transferred to a glass or plastic container.

How to store tuna cans properly

Check the expiration date when you buy them and, however, beware of cans that do not have a definite expiration date. The cans that are reported to be consumed in 5 or 7 years are quite dubious, especially if they do not have the date of manufacture written on the package.

At home, keep cans in a dark and cool place, away from any heat source, oven, or radiator. It is also not good to keep them in the refrigerator, because the temperature difference can affect the packaging and the contents. It is best kept in a cool pantry.

Is food from damaged cans dangerous?

As long as the can looks good, the contents should be safe. Never use food that comes from containers that show signs of botulism, such as leaking, bulging, or badly dented; jars that are broken or have loose lids or swollen lids; packaged foods that have a bad odor or containers that spill liquid when opened. 

DO NOT TRY THESE FOODS! Even a small amount of the toxin that causes botulism can cause death. The recommended storage time for cans is 2 to 5 years for low-acid foods (such as meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables) and 12 to 18 months for high-acid foods (such as juices, fruits, peppers, tomato soup, and cabbage).

Can canned food be frozen?

If the cans are slightly swollen and sure frostbite was the cause, the food may still be ready to eat.  Discard the product if it looks or smells good. DO NOT TRY IT! If the edges have rusted or burst, dispose of the cans immediately, wrapped in plastic and discarded in a place where no person or animal will have access to it.


In this article, we answered the following question: Can you eat expired canned tuna? We discussed how long does tuna cans last, how to store them correctly, and whether food from damaged cans is dangerous.

Our final advice is to respect the expiration date or consume canned goods within 3 years of purchase to benefit from their nutritional quality. Also, be sure to consume the oldest cans first. Get rid of leaky, rusty, dented, cracked cans or cans with bulging lids.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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