Friday, April 6, 2012

Survival Food Test - Testing Canned Foods with Expired Date

Even with proper rotation of your food storage items, there will be those items which manage to avoid your best efforts. These items will slip by unnoticed until their expiration date has expired. While most canned foods will be edible past their expiration date, a little caution should be exercised before it’s consumed.

In the picture above is a can of corn that had an expiration date of 01/10. The date is clearly visible because Mrs. RW always marks the date in big letters so that it is easy to see. Unfortunately, it managed to slip through our rotation.

Here are the steps that were used to determine its viability for consumption.

Testing Canned Foods with Expired Date

1. Examine the can closely. It should not be rusted, dented or bulging. Any of these signs could indicate the food inside the can may be unfit for consumption.

2. Open the can and visually examine the contents. Look closely for signs that could indicate the food is contaminated and may be unsafe to eat.

3. Smell the contents. If the contents smell bad, the food is most likely unfit for consumption and needs to be discarded.

4. Taste a small portion. If the previous steps have given no indication that the food item may be bad, taste a small portion. The taste and texture should be similar to food items with a good expiration date.

5. Taste a larger portion.  If you experience no effects from a small portion, taste a larger portion and wait a short time period to see if you still suffer no ill effects.

After taking these steps and have confirmed its viability for consumption, you should then cook or prepare the food item as you would normally. If your storage procedures have been properly maintained, most canned food items will be viable beyond their stated expiration date.

It is also important to remember the old saying “When in doubt, throw it out!”

BTW, the entire can of corn in the above picture was eaten with no ill effects.

Staying above the water line!



One Fly said...

I was half way into a can of peaches that was four years past due. They were fine but will be a bit more aware next time.

riverwalker said...

To: One Fly

It's best to be careful my friend and use some form of "edibility test" to avoid a serious problem.

Even with a careful check, it's still possible to miss something and you could wind up getting sick if the food is bad.

Thanks One Fly.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't do a taste test prior to boiling the food for at least 20 minutes. At least you will have killed the botulism which can be deadly in very small doses.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:31

Commercially canned food items are required to undergo a "botulinum cook" at 121 °C (250 °F) for 3 minutes and rarely cause botulism if the can isn’t damaged, swollen or bulging.

If possible, it is recommended that the food item is cooked at 250 °F for at least 3 minutes if possible.

In a survival situation this may not always be possible and the standard "Food Edibility Test" should be used.



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