Here's What Is In Rocco DiSpirito's Elaborate Canned Food Stockpile

When the zombie apocalypse comes, we're pretty sure that celebrity chef and cookbook author Rocco DiSpirito will not be going hungry, at least not for a good long time. Moreover, assuming they've prepared to raise their own livestock, DiSpirito won't have to give up much of anything in the way of gourmet cooking.

"Since nearly anything and everything can be canned and will literally last close to forever, I recommend stockpiling canned food," they told Food & Wine. Now, to be fair, DiSpirito wasn't actually talking about preparing for any kind of apocalypse. Rather, they were simply telling the outlet which canned foods can typically be found in their pantry. "I have everything from tactical bacon to canned salmon, sardines and anchovies, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, collards, honey, coconut milk, Asian sauces, and condiments (for big flavor), as well as canned meats like ground beef and ham," as they elaborated. 

But even without fresh home-raised meats, DiSpirito's elaborate canned food stockpile promises to have them prepared for just about any eventuality. The only question remaining is just how close to forever do canned foods really last?

Forever may be a bit of a stretch for some canned foods

Based on what the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states, DiSpirito is largely correct when they say that most canned food will last close to indefinitely. There are caveats, however. First, this holds true only if the can in question is shelf-stable. That means it can be stored safely at room temperature, which scientists define as 59-77 degrees Fahrenheit. Most canned foods are shelf-stable, but some of the items DiSpirito mentions as having in their canned food stockpile may not be.

Canned hams, for example, are not necessarily shelf-stable. Those that are can be stored without refrigeration for between two and five years. That's because they've been processed in a manner that kills the organisms that may cause spoilage or illness at room temperature. Canned hams that are labeled "keep refrigerated" are not processed to this extent but can be stored safely in the refrigerator for as long as six to nine months. DiSpirito also mentions canned ground beef — assuming the cans in question are not labeled as requiring refrigeration, these should remain safe to consume for between two and five years.

Further, it's never safe to consume any canned food whose can is not in pristine condition. A swollen can, for example, can mean exposure to temperatures high enough (above 122 degrees Fahrenheit) to allow for bacterial growth inside. Rusted and dented cans should also be tossed.