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Ask the Expert Archive

Is it safe to eat canned foods after the “use by” date?


Q. Is it safe to use canned mushrooms after the “Best By” date on the can, and, if so, how far? The date on the 5 cans that I have is 7 months past date.


A. According to the USDA Food Inspection Service, canned foods are safe indefinitely as long as they are not exposed to freezing temperatures, or temperatures above 90 °F (32.2° C). If the cans look ok, they are safe to use. Discard cans that are dented, rusted, or swollen. High-acid canned foods (tomatoes, fruits) will keep their best quality for 12 to 18 months; low-acid canned foods (meats, vegetables) for 2 to 5 years. Mushrooms are a low-acid food. The “use by” date means that the food is at its peak quality up until this date and then it will start to decline.

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