What Is the Shelf Life Of Canned Meat?

What Is the Shelf Life Of Canned Meat?

Canned meats are popular worldwide because of their long shelf life as well as their convenience, affordability, and variety. The likes of Spam Classic have been around for decades while new entries like Kirkland Signature Premium Chunk Chicken Breast have their fans.

What is the shelf life of canned meat? Most commercial canned meats will be safe for consumption for two to five years, perhaps longer. The actual shelf life, however, will depend on the best-by date and the can’s actual condition.

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Read on and find more information about the shelf life of canned meats. You will find the information useful in deciding which products to keep and to throw away.

Proper Storage Of Canned Meats Is Key To Their Shelf Life

Keep in mind that the actual shelf life of commercial canned meats will largely depend on their storage. It is because there are limits to the period in which food quality in canned meats can be preserved.

There are several reasons for it. For one thing, cans can become rusted and corroded. With enough rust, cans will have tiny holes that allow bacteria and other pathogens into the food. The meat inside the can will also chemically react with the metal resulting in changes to its taste and texture over time.

For another thing, temperatures will affect the shelf life of canned meats. In general, temperatures above 100°F increases the risk of spoilage, and prolonged exposure at these temperatures mean more significant nutrient loss.

Here are tips that will overcome these limitations in prolonging the shelf life of canned meats:

  1. Store these products in a cool, clean and dry place, preferably where the temperatures are between 50°F and 70°F. But don’t place them in the refrigerator, much less in the freezer.
  2. Store the canned meats in such a way that the ones with the nearest expiration dates are at the front. This way, you can use them first. You may also use the first-in, first-out method where the first canned meats you purchased should be consumed first.

You should conduct a regular inventory of the canned meats in your pantry. You can then determine which ones are still within their expiration dates and which ones should be thrown away for any reason.

Look For Signs Of Defect And Damage

But remember that not every damaged canned meat should be thrown away. If there isn’t a strange color and odor with the canned meat, then it’s likely that it’s still safe to eat. If the cans only have minor dents and rust, usually at the edge of the lip, then these may still be edible.

But if the cans are severely dented or rusted, with bulging sides or lid, or with leaks, then these should be disposed of properly. It is also true for cans that spurt liquid when there shouldn’t be when these are opened. In case the canned meats have brining liquid, check that it doesn’t have a strange smell.

Checking for signs of defect and damage is a must whether the canned meats are still within their expiration period. Their safety may have been compromised during handling from the factories to the supermarket, and then in your home.


To conclude, canned meats are excellent food sources, but it is always advisable to check their safety and palatability. Of course, everyone wants to get the best value for their money, and it starts by looking at the best-by date and can condition of the product.