The Truth About Canned Food Expiration Dates

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Before you dig into canned food, know the truth about what's under the lid and on the label. Are fresh and frozen ingredients healthier? Sometimes. Canned vegetables usually have added salt, and some canned fruit in packed sugary syrup. Choose canned veggies labeled low sodium, and buy fruit that's packed in water or its own juice.

Is canned food supposed to list an expiration date? Nope, not unless it's baby food or formula. What about sell-by and use-by dates? Most cans list them. Once these days pass, you can usually still eat safely, although your meals taste texture and nutrition quality may become less than ideal over time. So exactly how long is canned food safe to eat?

You can keep canned meat, poultry, and veggies up to five years. Keep tomatoes, pickles, and fruit for up to 1 and 1/2 years. But remember, they'll only stay safe to eat if you store them in a cool, dry place, and make sure the cans haven't gotten damaged or corroded. That's the scoop on canned food safety. Bon appetit.