Food banks often receive donations from old canned foods. Sometimes these cans are a few years old. But when the people of Cardiff Foodbank received a canned corn from 1982, they used it as a teaching moment instead of throwing it into the rubbish. It was their way of reminding the public that it is important to check the end dates before the donation.
So they decided to open the can to see how corn looks like after 35 years. But when the lid finally opened, the corn on the inside looked perfect! Canned foods can exceed their end date for decades, as long as the container is not breached, as bacteria can not penetrate and rot the contents.
As Helen Bull, a co-founder and fund raising consultant at Cardiff Foodbank, opened the can, she admits “it looks like it’s okay.” But after smelling the corn, she said: “There is a very strong metallic odor. This is not something I recommend eating. ”
But could someone eat it after three decades without getting poisoned? The answer is YES! dates in cans are not for safety but for quality. That means that the content is safe even after decades. But its quality (smell, taste, nutrition) will be altered.
Yes, metal will affect the smell and taste of the food, as there will be a small metal tranfusion in the food. But it is not at all certain that it will cause discomfort in the abdomen. Nor is it dangerous for human consumption. The best advice is always to judge your food from its appearance.
Smell or try it to judge if it’s safe. And of course always take into account the expiration date. Its not there accidentally! But your great attention should be in cans with fresh food, especially meat, fish and fresh salads. These are very likely to have been altered too well within the can. You are then at risk of food poisoning!