Disaster Planning

How Long Do Canned Foods REALLY Last?

I know most canned foods will last significantly longer than their expiration dates–even several years longer–with tomato based products being an exception. Of course, there is something to be said for how nutritious or tasty those cans of food are going to be years beyond their best by dates, but if you have nothing else to eat you’re probably not going to care much. Also, if you want to know precisely which canned foods to purchase, I write about that and more in my food storage book.

The following information comes, in large part, from the USDA and other credible sources. He discusses many considerations, including how nutritious the food may be after years of being in storage, how the storage environment affects longevity, how the cans are actually made and sealed and why that’s good for your safety, food rotation, and more…

By Damian Brindle

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8 replies on “How Long Do Canned Foods REALLY Last?”

When I was in the Army we were sometimes issued rations that were 20 years old. They tasted no worse than fresher versions of the same. I have heard of people eating 70 year old cans of SPAM. Things like tinned soup suffer from a lot of settling – water at the top, the things suspended in the water becoming a think paste at the bottom of the tin.

So, how long after the BBD are tomato products good for? Just until the BBD, or a little longer?

I don’t know if there’s a set time for all tomato based products. In general, I probably wouldn’t let them go much past a year or two beyond the best by date, but that’s probably over-generalizing it. Really, I just look to see if the can top appears to be bulging or not which is an indication that it’s time to throw away the can for sure.

What does that mean? This blog has been about’s preparing for survival for years? Please explain your comment.

And I’ll bet you believe that grocery stores should just give everything away too? Besides, nobody is forcing you to buy the book and I’m not even price-gouging either, lol.

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