canned food

If I use only half of can of food, for example, chick
peas, I have always put some aluminum foil over
the top and put it in the fridge for future use.

A co-worker saw me doing this at work, and told me that
you should never store canned goods in the can they came
in, because it can cause serious illness or death. She was quite adamant about it. You would have thought
I was eating raw pork. Several other people agreed, but
could not give a rational explanation beyond that the
food was supposed to either spoil faster or become contaminated with metal from the can.

This sounds ridiculous to me, especially after 20 years
of storing foodstuffs in their cans and never being
harmed, to my knowledge.

Is there anyone out there who can tell me more about

I apologize for posting what amounts to no more than anecdotal information in GQ but I have always been told that you cannot store tomato products that have been opened in the can. It has something to do with the acid in the tomatoes leeching harmful substances out of the can?

Eating food that has been stored too long in opened cans will result in a horrible deformity that causes you to reflexively hit your enter key before reaching the end of a text field. Sorry, pal.

Aside from that, I have never heard of any reason why you shouldn’t store your leftovers in the can, pardon the pun. Acid foods cause the metal to darken, that I have seen. And perhaps some mild change in flavor is noticed but I wouldn’t be the one to say, since I prefer to eat fresh or frozen. Anything I do eat from a can (campbell’s soup, cranberries) I always finish in one sitting.

Whoops! Check that. I just found some conflicting information at the Food Marketing Institute web site:

Although they don’t back up their recommendation with reasons. This requires more checking… will be back with more if I can find it.

The more I read that page, the more I don’t like it. They say you can only keep unopened canned food for 12 months, and I know I’ve eaten some things out of cans that have been in the pantry for much more than a year. A cursory check of my pantry right now finds several cans of chunky soup with “use by” dates of December 2002 (I think I bought these last Christmas). Pineapple chunks say they are good through January 2003. What is more, I bet those companies are erring on the safe side & I’ll be able to have soup & pineapples well into 2005 wihout harm. If you don’t hear from me four years from now, I guess I was wrong.

Well I’ve looked at quite a few more pages on that site, and still can’t find the reasoning for the “transfer all opened canned foods to plastic or glass containers before refregerating” mantra.

In fact I have only been able to find an additional reason why you shouldn’t do this: On this page they make quite a stink about a “danger zone” of temperatures where you must not allow foods to sit very long, lest nasty buggers begin to grow. Seems to me that a metal can would help your leftover lima beans cool down a whole lot faster (and therefore inhibit bugger growth) than a plastic or glass container would.

Wouldn’t glass help insulate the leftovers & keep them at room temperature longer?

Oh well, it’s my bedtime. Maybe somebody else can figure this one out for us.

I don’t have the answer to your question, but I will share this serious bit of advice from this page:

Well, I found at least one website that seems to indicate that I am not hallucinating with my tomato story.

Additionally, I think I may have discovered where the info came from. At this website, there is information indicating that some imported cans may be lead soldered and in those cases it is important not to store acidic foods such as tomatoes (pineapple, etc) inside those cans once opened due to possible lead contamination.

Thanks for the link to the CPCS publication. Further down on the page, I found the answer to my question. Apparently, there is some possible taste problem with storing food in cans, but no health risk. I figured as much. By the way, if you haven’t noticed yet,there are some other Q&A’s in this publication that are pure Straight Dope.

This is the greatest quote ever. Thank you.

Whoa! What a great site! Just saw this: