Canned food is a convenient and cost-efficient way to stock up on pantry staples, but is it safe to eat canned food straight from the can? While some canned products are designed to be eaten cold, such as tuna and many fruits and vegetables, others should not be consumed without first being heated.
Why You Shouldn’t Eat Canned Food Cold
Canned foods may contain harmful bacteria, such as listeria or salmonella. While these organisms can be killed through cooking, they quickly multiply at room temperature or when stored in the refrigerator for an extended period of time. Eating canned food that has not been heated to a safe internal temperature can result in foodborne illness.
Foods That Are Safe to Eat Canned and Cold
Tuna, salmon, sardines, mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, peaches and pears are some of the most common canned products that are safe to eat cold. These foods have been cooked during the canning process so there’s no need to reheat them before eating.
It’s important to note that while these foods are safe to eat cold from the can, they should still be stored in the refrigerator after opening.
Foods That Must Be Heated Before Eating
Most other canned items such as vegetables, soups and sauces must be heated before eating. The heat generated during cooking kills any bacteria present in the product and makes it safe for consumption. It’s also important to heat these foods until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for at least 15 seconds.
Can You Eat Any Canned Food Cold?
While some canned items are safe to eat cold straight from the can – such as tuna, salmon and certain fruits – most other canned products should not be consumed without first being heated. To ensure you’re eating safely prepared foods, always heat canned items until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for at least 15 seconds.
In conclusion, while certain canned products like tuna and fruits are safe to eat cold from the can without any further heating required; most other canned items like vegetables and soups must be heated prior consuming for safety reasons in order for them to reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for at least 15 seconds.