Using Expired Canned Food


July 28, 2009

Stacks of canned food with antique labelsLately I've been shopping at a local dent and bent store. I can't ever find a date on the cans. Someone told me that they take the dates off because they are expired so the customers won't know that. They said that they were told that food is still good long after the expiration date. I've tried to find out if it is legal to take the dates off of the cans.


I've found that 20 states require food to have dates but can't find out which ones are part of the 20. These cans are only 25 to 50 cents cheaper per can. The store has a sign up that says all sales final and I have purchased some things that had to be thrown away.

By Cindy from Mississippi


July 28, 20091 found this helpful
Best Answer

There are no federal laws that I am aware of requiring expiration dates on canned goods, except for infant formula and baby food. Other laws vary by state, usually in regards to dairy and egg products. Some deviled ham companies claim it is safe to eat their products a decade or more after the expiration! Although they also make sure to state that the quality of appearence and flavor are not guaranteed past the date. In the end though, I feel it's best to go with your own common sense.


If it smells bad, tastes funny, or has a bulging and dented can, probably wise to leave it alone. We are all ultimately responsible for our own and families safety.

Last week I found a can of deviled ham in my Grandparents basement and ate it. Supposedly it was over fifteen years old. It tasted as good as "fresh" deviled ham-terribly salty.

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March 30, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

There is a site with more information:; Information on food safety on canned goods. How to read the codes and what they mean.

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December 7, 2016

This is a page about using an old can of baked beans. If you have ever found an expired can of food at the back of the cupboard, you have probably wondered about the safety of eating the contents.

A open can of baked beans with a fork.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 28, 2009

Sometimes my MIL gets food from food pantries. One recent 'trip' has a can of red peppers from Turkey with the date of 09/02 on it. She and my DH think the can is safe since it is not bulging out. I just want to know if it's safe or not.

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