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Jun 26, 2009 06:03 AM

Old Canned Foods- moved from Home Cooking board

I have acquired a "forgotten" collection of canned food - fruits, vegetables, soups that are not marked with a "best by" date. Some may be years old, and some may be more recent - months to a year or two. I have discarded any that were bulging. I know that many of the cans have code numbers that I could investigate, but there are too many of them to try and track down. Are there any knowledgable opinions out there as to whether, if they are not bulging, the contents would be safe to eat? Another factor is that some may have been stored in a garage, subject to variations in temperature. Would that affect the contents as well?

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  1. It is my understanding that only pharmaceuticals and baby food have real expiration dates as required by the FDA.

    Everything else has a "best by" date (the argument that the quality may diminish over time).

    1. I've always been told that if the can is in tact, the food inside is fine to eat. I saw a report somewhere that opened up a can from the '50s and analyzed it - it was fine! In reality, I'd probably hesitate to eat anything more than 2-3 years old.

      1. Me, if it is 1-2 years old, I toss. But that is just me. If the can is fine I have heard it is ok but, who knows. I don't eat anything that old.

        1. If they're intact, not bulging, leaking, etc. they should be "safe". Whether the appearance, taste and/or texture are acceptable after X years, on the other hand, is a different story...