What would we do if it were not for canned beans, canned fish, and other canned products? These foods have become a major part of the food eaten worldwide, and it is almost impossible to imagine your fridge without it. However, as we all know that the canning process involves the use of loads of preservatives, and the consumption of such food for a long time can be harmful.
Health and Safety Considerations
While considering the safety of these foods, storage and expiry date are the foremost concern. These aspects also affect their shelf life.
A very logical and practical point is that, in case there is a reaction between the chemicals in the food and the metal of the can, the metal can erode. It is more common in case of acidic food items like tomatoes and juices.
If it is not used in the proper manner, there is a chance that the shelf life may get reduced as result of rust. The lid for the most part is more prone to catching rust.
In case the can does not show any sign of spoilage, to ensure safety, it is necessary to make sure that the ingredients inside have not deteriorated. Nutritive value of the food can get affected in such cases. To decide whether to use it or not, check the expiry date of the product. It is very important, not to eat these products after their expiry date has lapsed.
Canned products, when stored at temperatures over 100º Fahrenheit, can get spoiled. In some cases, when it is stored above 75º Fahrenheit for a long time, there may be a considerable amount of nutritional loss.
Safety of Foods Canned at Home
The aforementioned factors were associated with commercially-canned foods. Canning at home is a very healthy habit. In fact 1 in every 5 US household can their own food. However, if not done correctly then the food may get contaminated and lead to food poisoning, and may prove fatal in some cases. There are some tried-and-tested methods that will not pose a health concern to people consuming these foods. Also, it is better to stay away from old canning methods like using wax to seal the jars, pressure saucepans, oven canning, and the use of mayonnaise jars.
Tips for Safety of Canned Foods
There are certain factors which limit how long and when these foods can be consumed. A few things should be kept in mind while using these foods at home.
- Always use the can which was brought first.
- Avoid cans which show bulging, leaking, and denting at the seam or rim.
- If you hear a 'hiss' when you open the can, then to be on the safer side, dispose off the food.
- Store the cans in a clean, cool, and dry place at temperature below 85ºF to ensure safety.
- Use canned meats and sea food within 12 months
- A sign of a safe can is that when you press gently but firmly on the lid of the jar prior to opening it, the lid does not pop.
- Also, never forget to check the expiry date before you buy them.
Be it homemade or commercial, the most important thing is the overall food packaging method used to ensure the safety of the food.