By Bob Difley
How long can you safely keep canned food in your rig?
Most food authorities say canned food will last for two years or longer, but experts say that’s completely arbitrary. In reality, if a can’s seal is not broken it can last for many years longer. But to be on the safe side, follow these procedures for food stored for emergencies, or when trying to stretch a couple more days into your boondocking trips:
Write the date of purchase on the top of the can with a permanent marker.
Store in a cool dry compartment. RVers often deal with broader temperature swings than at home, but the cooler you can keep the cans the less chance they’ll have of overheating.
Before using, inspect the can for dents (a can with a large dent may have an invisible, broken seal), bulging (a bad sign — throw the can out immediately) and leaking.
Never eat canned food that has a strange odor, flavor or that spurts when it is opened.
The Food Reference website states: “Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture. Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile. Food safety is not an issue in products kept on the shelf or in the pantry for long periods of time. In fact, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf life at moderate temperatures (75 degrees F and below). Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and was still microbiologically safe!”
In canned foods, preservatives are used to maintain quality. The canning process keeps it safe. If a product is correctly processed, it should remain safe until opened or the seal is broken.