Food Safety of Canned Food.

January 27, 2023

What is canned food?

An important and efficient method for preserving food is canning. It is a method of preserving food that involves placing it in airtight, vacuum-sealed containers and heating it to 250 °F (121 °C). This kills microbes and inactivates enzymes. Foods like sauces, beans, lentils, pasta, tuna, vegetables, and fruits are manufactured into cans. 

Canned foods are extremely convenient because they keep most fruits and vegetables available all year. And they’re so simple to find. They can be seen on supermarket shelves everywhere.

The three main steps of canning are:

  • Processing: Food is peeled, sliced, chopped, pitted, boned, shelled, or cooked.
  • Sealing: The processed food is sealed in cans.
  • Heating: Heat is applied to cans to destroy hazardous bacteria and prevent deterioration.

How is food canned commercially?

The cans are heated at a high temperature to kill the bacteria that could cause foodborne illness. In addition to removing air from the product, the heating process creates a vacuum. This vacuum aids in the prevention of recontamination by hazardous germs.

Choosing canned foods:

When selecting canned or jarred food, take the time to check the packaging. Do not buy jars or cans with dented, leaking, broken, or swollen lids. Avoid cans that are dusty or have torn labels because they have likely been sitting on the shelf for a long time.

Storage of canned food:

The storage life is determined by a variety of factors, including storage conditions and the nature of the food. Store canned foods in a cool, dry place away from pipes, stoves, or direct sunlight for the greatest quality. Keep cans dry to prevent rusting of the metal covers. Leaks and food deterioration can be caused by rust. A best-before date is not required for canned foods with a shelf life of more than two years.

Canned foods with a high acidity level, such as juices, tomatoes, fruits, and pickles, will keep for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned foods, such as meat and vegetables, can be stored for 2-4 years. However, there can be a few quality variations, like a change in colour or texture.

Before opening the cans, wash the tops. Some cans may hiss as a result of being vacuum-packed, and the noise is caused by air pressure, which is totally natural. If, however, a can hisses or spurts loudly when opened, this may indicate that the food has soured and should be destroyed. 

Foods that do not appear to be spoiled may still contain bacteria that can make you sick. You can’t tell if a food is harmful by its smell or taste. When in doubt, discard it. Transfer the contents of any goods that must be refrigerated to an airtight plastic or glass container. When refrigerated foods are opened, their quality and safety begin to deteriorate.

Facts about canned food:

  • Canned foods contain important nutrients such as protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals that are necessary for a healthy diet.
  • Canned foods provide similar nutrition to fresh and frozen meals, and in certain cases, higher levels of some key nutrients.
  • Canned foods are lightly processed. Fruits and vegetables destined for canning are chosen at their optimal ripeness and packed as soon as they are harvested. They are washed and prepped before being sealed in steel cans and briefly boiled in the can to lock in nutrients while preserving taste and quality. The heating process is carefully optimized.
  • Tinplate cans are among the safest food packaging options. They are durable, tamper-resistant, and have an airtight seal to keep food nutritious and safe for many years.
  • Canned foods contain no preservatives. The heat treatment of the canning process protects the food and eliminates the need for preservatives.
  • Canned foods are not always rich in sodium and provide less than 1% of the sodium in consumers’ diets on average.

The danger of botulinum in canned foods:

A toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum is a highly serious risk in canned products but it is rare.  Botulism spores are heat resistant and can persist in foods that have been improperly or minimally processed.

The typical C. botulinum organism can be killed by high cooking temperatures, but the spore must be killed at even higher degrees. That is why low-acid foods are canned using a pressure canner. If the spores are not eliminated during the canning process, they can revert to normal cells and create a deadly poison.

If you consume C. botulinum-contaminated food, you will develop symptoms within 12 to 48 hours. The poison targets the neurological system, causing double vision, droopy eyelids, difficulty swallowing, and breathing difficulties. Suffocation can occur if a patient is not treated because the nerves no longer stimulate respiration. Although there is an antitoxin that has reduced the frequency of botulism deaths. But patients may still suffer nerve damage, and recovery is frequently slowed.


Canned foods can be a nutritious and cost-effective method to supplement your diet, especially when fresh foods are unavailable. By following the basic food safety guidelines, you can ensure that your canned foods safe to consume.

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