How long does tuna last out of the fridge? (3 varying answers)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How long does tuna last out of the fridge?’. We will look at the factors that make tuna spoil quicker than usual. We will also look at ways and factors that elongate the shelf-life of tuna.

How long does tuna last out of the fridge?

As per USDA recommendations, tuna should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After this time bacteria start to multiply rapidly. Similarly, tuna can sit out for a maximum of 2 hours on a routine day. If the days are hotter (above 90℉), tuna should not be left out for more than 1 hour.

FDA advises against leaving raw tuna out of the fridge for more than an hour. Cooked tuna can sit out of the fridge for more than 2 hours. 

Your tuna may not spoil in 2 hours depending on the tuna and the environment; e.g., raw tuna at a high ambient temperature will within an hour. Cooked tuna with a history of good handling might not spoil as quickly. 

An unopened can of tuna last for years out of the fridge. Canned tuna has a shelf-life of 3 years or longer, depending on the storage condition. 

If your tuna can is open or damaged, the shelf-life will diminish significantly. It will last for a few hours out of the fridge and then need to be thrown away.

Canned tuna is preserved in salt; if left out it may last longer than 2 hours. However, it is best to trust your judgment and play it safe. Eating spoiled tuna can pose a health threat.

Tuna fish has high perishability. FDA advises avoiding letting tuna sit for more than 2 hours at room temperature. If your temperature exceeds 90 Fahrenheits, do not let the tuna fish sit for more than an hour.

When left at a temperature greater than 68 degrees Fahrenheit, tuna starts to harbor bacterial growth. The benchmark for room temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius.

However, the room temperature will vary depending on your thermostat setting and the weather condition. The general rule that applies to food spoilage is that the higher the temperature is, the quicker your food will spoil. 

The storage conditions come into play as well. The more cautiously you care for your food commodity, the longer it will last.

According to the FDA, meat items must not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 

After you open a can of tuna, it will last 3-4 days in the fridge. It will last you 3-4 months in the freezer.

How long can tuna stay in the fridge? 

Open tuna that has been kept in the fridge in an airtight container will last for 1 – 2 days. Canned tuna does not need to be refrigerated and lasts for as long as the date mentioned on the label. Once opened, tuna should be transferred to a separate container and then stored in the fridge.

How to tell if tuna has spoiled?

Tuna that has spoiled will change its characteristics; smell, texture, or color alters. An off-odor or a slimy texture is a good indicator of the condition of tuna. 

Like other meats, tuna has high perishability. All kinds of seafood have a short shelf life due to their high water and nutritional content. To ensure the longevity of your tuna fish; handling practices have to be observed from harvesting until cooked.

Why does tuna fish spoil so soon?

Meat is a perishable commodity that requires careful handling. Seafood such as tuna fish is home to microorganisms that can cause food poisoning. It is advised to store tuna fish at low temperatures as room temperature can cause your meat to spoil prematurely. 

Therefore, it deems necessary to care for tuna products.

Bacteria are everywhere in the environment, even in the fish meat itself. You must handle your tuna fish properly to prevent bacteria from causing havoc to it.

Other FAQs about Tuna which you may be interested in.


How long can you keep tuna fish in the fridge?

How long can you keep fresh tuna in the fridge?

What is the difference between pathogenic and spoilage bacteria?

There are two different kinds of bacteria; Pathogenic bacteria and spoilage bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria are capable of making a person sick, while the spoilage bacteria cause food to deteriorate.

Spoilage bacteria can grow even in the food that is in a refrigerator. These bacteria cause food to develop unpleasant attributes such as odor and taste.

According to USDA, the temperature of 40 F to 140 F labels as ‘The Danger Zone. This range of temperature encourages bacterial growth.  Spoilage is usually a quality issue in its initial stage and does not cause illness. However, gradually the food becomes a complete hazard.

How to store tuna fish?

  • Make sure the tuna fish stays wrapped in original packaging.
  • Keep tuna in the fridge for as much time as possible.
  • Wrap in an air-tight container or foil. 
  • Do not thaw at room temperature or in the microwave unless you must consume it immediately.

The variables that account for the shelf-life of tuna fish are; its packaging and the state of the environment. To stay on the safe side, examine your fish before you consume it.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How long does tuna last out of the fridge?’. We looked at the factors that make tuna spoil quicker than usual. We also looked at ways and factors that elongate the shelf-life of tuna.


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