Is It Okay to Store Open Tin Cans in the Fridge?

Woman Looking at Tin Can in Her FridgeBefore obtaining a food hygiene certificate, one must be familiar with the important concepts in food handling. Proper food storage, naturally, is one of them. Another part is knowing where the ‘truths’ in common food storage beliefs start and end.

It’s a common belief that people shouldn’t store open food cans in the fridge. Doing so, according to them, can give a person food poisoning. While this may sound scary, people need not worry. This is not true. Storing open food cans won’t give you botulism, but the taste will change.

The Effect of Food Storage on Taste

The cans used to package the food are made of aluminium or tin, and a tiny amount of metal transfers into the food over time. The rate of transfer increases after opening the can. Though the food will taste weird, diners can rest assured that it is still alright to consume. If you do not want to taste the tinny, metallic flavour, however, be sure to take out the food contents and store them in a ceramic, plastic or glass container. This will minimise the intensity of the metallic taste.

Debunking the Botulism Myth

The myth that botulism comes from open tins in the fridge is not true. Botulism is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum. This bacteria attacks the nervous system and causes paralysis.

The reason why people often relate it to food stored in open tin cans is that botulism can be food borne. This means that people can get this illness when they consume uncanned, unpreserved or uncooked food that contain the bacteria. The bacteria responsible for botulism is present in sea, river, dust and soil sediments. These sediments, when deprived of oxygen, will emit highly poisonous toxins. Given that canned food goes through strict safety checks and procedures, it is unlikely that the food inside it is spoiled and contaminated with botulism bacteria.

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It should be fine to store open food cans in the fridge especially since canning procedures and food hygiene can help prevent food poisoning. If the can, however, shows tangible signs of bulges, leaks, dents or foul-smelling contents, then it’s best not to store or consume them at all.