Canned Tuna

How to Tell if Your Canned Tuna Is Bad (9 Ways)

Cooking Tips

Most people fill their houses with canned goods as a backup for their normal meals. Canned goods are most kept in pantries, stocked up to serve as supplements to other meals or at times they serve as main meals. Depending on whatever our reason is, we all stock up our pantry with these kinds of goods. There are several of them out there and tuna is an example. Tuna is very popular because it is not expensive and it can be useful in various ways. Tuna is quite simple to use and it also lasts for some time inside the can.

There are usually expiry dates on canned goods but we should be able to tell or not if a canned tuna is still good or has gone bad. The interesting thing is that we have a lot of tricks and tips that you can help you identify whether or not a canned tuna is bad. The things you should do is for you to first check for the expiring date, check for any leakage on the can, smell the can for any bad odor, check for the color, whether it has changed or not, crosscheck the can for any damage, and then you can taste it. The taste should be the last option you should do if you were not convinced by the previous options.

What we want to discuss in this article is to show you the nine basic tips or tricks through which you can know when your tuna has gone bad for you to throw away or whether it is still perfect for your consumption. Continue to read to find out.

Canned Tuna – Understanding if it is Good or Bad

We buy canned tuna because of a few reasons including its versatility, its flavor, and because it is not expensive to buy. There are several things you can use your tuna for and it usually stays fresh for some time. One of the attributes canned goods have is that they tend to last longer than their fresh version. If they are stored properly, canned tuna can be kept good for up to three to five years; this is a very long time. There is an expiring date on canned tuna just like every other canned good. These stamped dates on canned goods are called “best-by dates” which means that their quality cannot be guaranteed after then. It is key to properly store it but the canned goods will not necessarily become bad if they are stored beyond the dates.

What we want to check in this article are the nine ways by which you will get to know when canned tuna has gone bad. Let’s check them out below:


  1. Check the Dates

Canned goods are typically still edible even after they have passed their stamped best-by date. The date is a guide to ensure the quality of the product over time. It is quite obvious that the longer you allow the tuna in storage, the more the risk of losing the tuna’s quality.  Even though we previously mentioned that your tuna can still be eaten after the expiration date, we still believe you should know the date. It is recommended that you mark the date the tuna was purchased to serve as a measurement for how long it has been stored in your pantry. Checking this date is just your starting point, but you can use it together with other methods to know if you should throw your tuna away.

  1. Dented & Damaged Cans

It is not that foods with dented can should not be eaten but there are several grocery stores that reduce the price of damaged or dented canned goods due to the fact that it could negatively affect the expiry date. When you see a dent on the lid, it may be a suggestion that the can’s pressurization was released which you will not know. Bacteria could have gathered on your food and may lead to salmonella or other bad things to grow on the food item. It is better to throw away when you notice any dent on the lid.

  1. Leaking Can

This is quite simple, once you notice that there is a leakage on the can, do not eat it. Can do not get leaked often, but it does happen. The process of preservation would have been affected if there is any leakage on the canned tuna which means the tuna is not preserved any longer. Irrespective of the stamped date or other factors, don’t eat your tuna if the can is leaking. Goods are usually canned for the purpose of preservation, if any part of the can is leaking, it means the items inside are no longer safe and should not be eaten. The best thing to do? Throw it away.

  1. Canned Corrosion

In case rust or corrosion is noticed on your can, you shouldn’t eat it. Pinprick sized holes will appear on the surface of the can due to corrosion. The holes are tiny and may not be seen clearly. Your tuna showing corrosion signs may mean that moisture or air have found their way into the food within the can. It is better not to take such a chance and should be thrown away.

  1. Exploding Cans

Normally, the can will not explode by sitting on the cabinet (even though it could be possible). When you open your can and you detect things projecting or exploding out, it means there is something wrong with the items in the can and should be thrown away. They could sometimes be bulging. The food might pour out quickly when the can is popped or there could be an explosive noise. Such signs are not good for your tuna and should be discarded.

  1. Look for Pink

Normal tuna meat has a light pink or bright red coloration. The red could be a tint that is slightly brown. How can you know if the brown is good or bad? A bad tuna has an obvious dark brown-streaked color throughout that is very close to black color. When your good tuna has dark coloration, you will still notice reddish hue on it, the difference will be very clear to you.

  1. Black, Brown, Green = Bad

You will know if your tuna has gotten spoilt or not through this method. When you notice that your tuna has streaks that are dark brown or perhaps the streaks may look black. You will see them through your tuna as an obvious discoloration, it is not something you should eat, kindly throw away.

This one will be an obvious way to tell if your food has gone bad. There are times that the tuna will appear green, this is another signal for you to know that your tuna has gone bad and should not be eaten.

  1. Odors Talk

Your canned goods will not necessarily have the best smell when you open them because the items inside have been preserved with water or some oil so that it can last for a long time. If you have eaten a lot of canned tuna before, you will know the exact smell when you open the can. Tuna is a type of fish whose smell is fishy.

Smelling then canned tuna is a way for you to determine if your tuna has gone bad or not. You will detect an off smell when you open the can. The fishy smell will not be as fishy as it should be, it will rather have an acrid smell or slightly acidic smell instead of having a fishy smell. In case you detect that the canned tuna has a spoiled or an acrid smell, it is recommended to be thrown away and wash your hands so that you will not mistakenly take any of the constituents.

  1. Sample It 

In case you have tried everything out and you could not detect whether or not your canna tuna is bad, try to take a bite. If you detect that the flavor is off or the taste is not right, don’t eat it.

As regards food, most especially canned foods, it is better to throw them away if something is not right than risk getting sick. Canned tuna is not expensive and can be easily bought. It is not recommended to risk your health.

Canned Tuna
Canned Tuna

Related Questions Asked

We hope you have learned one or two things about how you can best know when a canned tuna has gone bad. The nine ways discussed should be practiced to determine if you can go ahead to eat a canned tuna or not.

Kindly check below for some questions and answers that could be of additional knowledge to you.

Does canned tuna need to be refrigerated?

A canned tuna does not have to be stored in a fridge until after it has been opened. If you are yet to open it, you don’t need to put them in the fridge. After opening, leftovers should be kept in the refrigerator or thrown away.

How do you properly store canned tuna?

Your canned tuna should be stored in a dry and cool place. The best place to store them is inside a cabinet or pantry that has closing doors which will help preserve the canna tuna. Generally, the best place you can store your canned food is to place them out of direct heat and sunlight.

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