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The Mother Of All Food Storage Myths
This is a discussion on The Mother Of All Food Storage Myths within the Food, Health and Fitness Survival forums, part of the Survivalist, Prepper, Bushcrafter, Forest Rangers category; We've been told the average can of food has a shelf life of two years, mainly because that's what the use-by date tells us. It ...
The Mother Of All Food Storage Myths
We've been told the average can of food has a shelf life of two years, mainly because that's what the use-by date tells us. It started with the FDA insisting on a sell-by date, and culminated with a self-imposed industry standard of two years because that's the time span of canned foods optimal nutrient value. In an emergency situation, although it is best to consume canned goods at their freshest state possible, an item that has passed its given sell-by date may still offer life-sustaining sustenance.
Dale Blumenthal with the Food and Drug Administration wrote an article which sited a study performed in 1974 by the National Food Processors Association on 100 year old canned food that was found on the Steamboat Bertrand. It needs to be pointed out the Bertrand had swamped under its heavy load and sank in the Missouri River in 1865. It was later recovered in 30 feet of silt.
The canned goods that were tested from this recovery consisted of oysters, brandied peaches, plum tomatoes, honey and mixed vegetables. The contents of these 100 year old cans were tested for bacteria and also for their nutrient value. When tested, it was noted that the food had lost its fresh appearance and fresh smell, but it did not contain microbial growth, and was just as safe to eat 100 years later as it was when it was canned. Vitamins C and A were lost, but the foods still had high levels of protein and contained all of its calcium and was deemed comparable to today's canned food.
I highly recommend that you go to the following link and read the article:
Included in Dale Blumenthal’s paper, the National Food Processors Association chemists didn’t stop with testing the canned food found on the ship-wrecked Bertrand. They also analyzed a forty year old can of corn from a California basement where it had been stored all those years ago. No contaminants were found, and the nutrient loss was not significant.
In another study, the U.S. Army stated that 46 year old canned meats, vegetables and jam were likewise tested and found safe to eat.
Important Note: When storing long-term canned goods, check each can for dents before storing. Any dented cans should go in the kitchen pantry for immediate use, rather than taking chances with long-term food storage.
Before consuming canned goods, always check for these warning signs: cans with bulging tops, bottoms, or sides should be tossed out. It is an indication that it contains dangerous bacterial growth. A can with a leaking seal should also be tossed, as this is another indicator that the can may contain harmful bacteria.
Several years ago . . . the local paper published a Sunday cartoon where a mother and her 2 kids made a game out of finding all the "outdated" food in the pantry so they could toss it out.
I knew that was garbage and fake news at the time . . . but didn't know how deep that same thought pattern had penetrated into our culture. Since then I have seen or heard multiple on top of multiple numbers of folks get all hairy and uptight about the "expiration" date on the cans, boxes, or bags of food.
I'm pretty much the "if it ain't turned green . . . and growing hair . . . it's safe to eat" . . . kind of guy when it comes to food.
May God bless,
If you can breathe, . . . thank God.
If you can read, . . . thank a teacher.
If you are reading this in English, . . . thank a veteran.
Great post Isti.
Our survival group takes the view that:
** All canned food is fully cooked and can be eaten without needing to be cooked further if fuel is a problem.
** Be leary of items that are packed in plastic containers and need to be refrigerated immediately even if unopened, like some hams.
They are not fully cooked and have a short shelf life (month or so?).
** Be leary of pop-top cans as heat may cause a few to burst open. If they leak on other cans that may damage those cans as well.
To open a can without a can opener scrape the top of the can on a sidewalk a few times and then squeeze in the four sides of it.
What that research did not mention was the high probability of lead contamination,
which was common in the early days of canning.
Lids were sealed by hand with lead solder at first,
they were unsafe some time after when the lead started to leach out from acidic foodstuffs.
Researchers 40 years ago found British naval personnel frozen it the Arctic,
that had died from ingested lead poisoning a 100 some odd years prior
It took a while for it to happen, dependent on temperature conditions.
It was not until rolled sealing was developed that they were safe for extended storage periods,
but still subject to acid etching (tin taste) until interior coatings were developed.
That acidic action will eat right through a can without the coating,
I found that out 30 years ago, tomato paste ate through 2 cases of Contadina tomato paste I had stored.
Those were pre coated cans.
Last edited by SOCOM42; 05-23-2020 at 11:33 AM.
When I was in the US Army, we ate rations that were made during the Korean war and WW2.
It was creepy sitting in an OP in during the winter in Germany in an old eastern front bunker, waiting for the Russians to attack.
It was in a sense a repeat of the scene 16 years before,
eating the food dated from that time, using the same weapons, ammo, clothing and everything else.
I wondered if I would stand my ground, fight and die or retreat in front of the hoards coming at us, never found out.
The 10 or 12 inch hole in the bunker wall led me to wonder about survivability in there.
The hole was a good place for the BC scope we had with us, WW2 made .
Last edited by SOCOM42; 05-23-2020 at 11:36 AM.
Reason: sentence structure