Can you put an open soda can in the fridge?
In this brief guide we will address the question, “can you put an open soda can in the fridge?” and discuss the risks of putting an opened soda can in the fridge.
Can you put an open soda can in the fridge?
Yes, you can put an open soda can in the fridge for a short period of time, if certain food safety practices are followed (1). However, the soda will not have the same flavor, as the carbon dioxide dissipates rapidly once the can is opened (2).
The soda is still safe to drink as long as there is remaining carbon dioxide in the drink. Carbonation lowers the pH and prevents microbial growth (6). Therefore, you should wrap or seal the opened can in order to keep the gas inside. In addition, you should not consume it if any signs of spoilage are noticed.
In general, it is recommended to store canned foods in the refrigerator for a period of 3 to 4 days and to transfer the food to a food container, avoiding the storage inside the can (3). The reason for this recommendation is that cans are coated with resins that are able to migrate into the food during storage, bringing possible health risks to the consumer (4). Moreover, metals are also known to migrate into the food during storage (5).
However, studies showed that this migration is minimum in the case of canned beverages and that canned beverages do not possess a health risk due to the contamination of coatings residues.
However, soft drinks and carbonated drinks are not free from the risk of being spoiled and carry pathogenic microorganisms. Consuming spoiled soda can lead to foodborne diseases (6).
What are the risks of putting an open soda in the fridge?
The risks of putting an open soda in the fridge are of experiencing an episode of foodborne disease if the soda spoils. Although food outbreaks related to the ingestion of carbonated drinks are very rare, it is possible due to some factors, such as (1,2,6):
- Cans often carry a high number of microorganisms and are rarely cleaned prior to its opening/ consumption. Microorganisms that are outside the can cause the drink to be contaminated and cause diseases to the consumer
- The carbon dioxide is lost from the soda very fast, which decreases the preservation function of the carbonation in the drink
Carbonated drinks are susceptible to contamination by soda can cause bacteria, such as Acetobacter and Gluconobacter, Enterobacteria (e.g. Klebsiella), spore-forming (Clostridium and Bacillus) and Lactobacillus; by yeasts, such as Saccharomyces and Candida and fungi, such as Fusarium and Rhizopus (6).
In addition, a study reported that pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus were not killed in Coca Cola during 5 min incubation despite the high acidity of the drink (pH 2.7).
Drinking soda that is contaminated by such pathogens or their toxins can lead to foodborne illnesses, with symptoms being nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever and headache (7).
How to know that soda is spoiled soda?
To know that soda is spoiled, you should be able to identify the possible signs of spoilage. The most immediate sign indicating that it is no longer safe to drink stored soda is the loss of carbon dioxide (gas). Other signs include (6):
- Generation of off-odors, such as petroleum-like, yeasty, vinegary
- Formation of ropiness, haze and turbidity
- Off-flavors such as vinegary, yeasty, buttery, musty, stale
- Formation of film on the surface
An unopened can of soda will generally last a few weeks beyond its mentioned expiry date, when stored in a cool dry place, protected from sunlight and away from heat sources and odor-emitting chemical products (8).
This is because the “best by” or “best before” date is just a rough estimate from the manufacturer. The drink should be refrigerated after you open it to reduce the rate of spoilage (6).
When open and tightly sealed, soda will last and stay fresh for up to 2-3 days depending on how tightly it was sealed and the packaging material (3).
How to safely consume and store soda?
To safely consume canned soda, it is important to wash the can or to clean the can before you open it using a clean paper towel or wet napkin, especially the region next to the grip area.
This can significantly reduce the microbial load of the can (1) therefore reducing the risks of foodborne diseases.
To store leftover canned soda, you should transfer the remaining liquid to a plastic screwable bottle that can resist the leakage of gas. Sanitize the bottle with water, soap and by immersing it in water with a bit of bleach for a few minutes (9).
In this brief guide we have addressed the question, “Can you put an open soda can in the fridge?” and discuss the risks of putting an opened soda can in the fridge.
- Michaels, Barry, et al. A microbial survey of food service can openers, food and beverage can tops and cleaning methodology effectiveness. Food Service Technol, 2003, 3, 123-132.
- M Capozza. Rapid De-Carbonation in Canned Carbonated Soft Drink Beverages. 2017. The State University of New Jersey.
- Foodkeeper. United States Department of Agriculture
- Lestido-Cardama, Antía, et al. Application of chromatographic analysis for detecting components from polymeric can coatings and further determination in beverage samples. J Chromatogr, 2021, 1638, 461886.
- Petropoulos, G., et al. Chemometric determination of the shelf life of opened cans using the migration of specific metals as quality indicators. Food Chem, 2018, 267, 313-318.
- Juvonen, Riikka, et al. Microbiological spoilage and safety risks in non-beer beverages. VTT Tiedotteita-Research Notes 2599. 2011.
- Foodborne illness and disease. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Van Laanen, Peggy. Safe home food storage. Texas FARMER Collection. 2002.
- Messing, L. How to keep your water bottle germ-free. Michigan State University Extension