Is Two-Year-Old Canned Tuna Safe To Eat?

When it comes to pantry staples, there are a few items we like to always have on hand. Among those are olive oil and other cooking oils; rice and pasta; dried beans and other legumes; spices; salt; and canned fish of various kinds. With these staples stored away, it's quick and easy to make a meal out of them by adding fresh items such as vegetables, eggs, and meat.

And when it comes to canned fish, there's little doubt that canned tuna is among the most popular and versatile options. Notwithstanding the mayo-heavy tuna salads of our youth, canned tuna — especially when packed in olive oil — is meaty and rich. It also packs a wallop of flavor when incorporated into dishes like tuna meltstuna lettuce wraps, and pasta dishes. Of course, many of us keep cans of tuna stored in the pantry. If you have cans of tuna at home right you and wonder how long it'll last or if you can eat two-year-old canned tuna, we've got your answer.

Your canned tuna will last two years — maybe longer.

If you tend to shop in bulk and have found yourself with a few too many cans of tuna lining your pantry shelves, don't stress. You don't need to rush to eat them. According to StillTastyproperly stored canned tuna will stay its freshest for three to five years. As explained by Does It Go Bad?, the tuna in a can is in an airtight, sterile environment, so there's no way for bacteria to get in and spoil the fish. In addition, the site comments that the use-by date on a can of tuna refers to how long the fish will remain tasting its best, not when it spoils. So while a use-by date of five years from the purchase date, for example, is a good guideline, Does It Go Bad? estimates that even a nine-year-old can of tuna could still taste pretty good.

So what does "properly stored" mean when it comes to canned tuna? Does It Go Bad suggests storing canned tuna at room temperature, away from any heat sources such as sunlight or your oven. If you notice any irregularities in the can — like a damaged, swollen, rusted, or leaking can — err on the side of caution and toss the tuna. Your otherwise unopened, airtight cans of tuna will likely stay good for years to come.