April 20, 2016 at 4:10 pm #48440
When I was a youth there were no dates on food packages and we learned canned food was supposed to last forever if unopened.
“Canned food, in particular, can stay safe for a really long time. In 1974, scientists at the National Food Processors Association in Washington, D.C., got their hands on several old cans of food.
Janet Dudek, now semi-retired and living in Vienna, Va., was among the scientists who analyzed this old food. Her assignment was a can of corn, vintage 1934, that was found in someone’s basement in California.
When they opened the can, Dudek says, the contents looked and smelled pretty much like ordinary canned corn. Analysis showed that it had most of the usual complement of nutrients — although there were lower levels of a few, such as vitamin C.
Results were similar for century-old canned oysters, tomatoes and red peppers in cans recovered from a sunken steamboat, buried in river silt near Omaha, Neb.”
April 20, 2016 at 4:41 pm #48442
- This topic was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by 74.
This is why I haven’t tossed much of my outdated cans. I figure the worst case scenario is I’ll toss it rather than use it come SHTF if it isn’t any good.April 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm #48446
As noted in another thread, we volunteer at a food bank locally. It’s highly regulated and inspected. We have it on good authority that we can tell recipients not to worry about short-date or out-of-date canned foods for at least two years, if they store it at reasonable temperatures. The only exception is when dents are deep enough on the sides to cause a fairly sharp edge or point in the dent (possible tiny cracks in the metal), or if the dent is along the seams at the top (or occasionally bottom) of the can. If that seal breaks due to a dent, it may or may not show leakage, but can become a problem.
My only real concern with older cans is that previously there was far more leaching of unwanted substances, due to older manufacturing techniques. But the more modern cans don’t even have a seam on the bottom, and are sometimes even lined. Lead leaching is of far less concern these days than in decades past. Personally, I doubt I’d be eating those century old oysters, though. LOL!
We use homeopathic remedies a good bit in our family. Though not food, I learned something from a company I deal with (a smaller homeopathic lab that sells both to professionals and over-the-counter retail stores). They put no expiration dates on their remedies (the only one I know of). I talked with the senior person at the company, and was assured that they are neither required to, nor do they need to put an expiration date on their products. The person said some of their very old remedies we have (an older formula we like but they no longer make) is perfectly fine today if reasonably stored. She said that other companies use expiration dates primarily for marketing purposes – they want us to throw out “expired” remedies and go to the store and buy more of their products. I suspect we’re looking at the same thing with much of the canned food as well – it sells more products. (And with foods, it’s also the food companies’ attempts at further reducing litigation by trying to force older stocks out of peoples’ homes – and wastefully into the trash.)
We’ve chosen to keep (and use/rotate) much more freeze dried and dehydrated foods in the past few years, and of course the nutritional value of particularly the freeze dried stuff is reportedly much better long term. Plus, contamination over time (leaching from cans) is not an issue with the vacuum packed stuff compared to store-bought canned foods. But I certainly wouldn’t throw out a can of beans or carrots simply because it “expired” six months ago. If a regulated food bank can get away with up to two year out of date canned goods, you KNOW there isn’t a major problem with food safety.April 20, 2016 at 7:02 pm #48450
Tomato’s are about the only item I really watch the expiration date on, because the acids can eat through the liner and damage the can.April 20, 2016 at 9:24 pm #48451
Lead leaching is of far less concern these days than in decades past.
That’s because there’s no lead in most modern US cans, and hasn’t been for about two decades. Cans used to have lapped and (lead-tin) soldered side seams, but they’ve even perfected solderless side seams for those cans which still have them. Many food cans have BPA as a component of the lining. See:
Cry, "Treason!"April 22, 2016 at 3:51 am #48452
I have some l-lysine dated to 2004. What would be your take on that? Not canned but in a plastic bottle. It’s still in the original sealed caplets. And then there are all the other sealed vitamins e c a d b. If they were sealed in airtight bottles would they still be good. Obviously storing vitamins is a shortcut over storing real food in cans but one that could help a great deal if certain foods become unobtainable.April 22, 2016 at 10:41 am #48453
Based on the study posted below my guess is L-lysine is stable under proper storage conditions with very little change in composition. I can only guess about your vitamins. What I think is most of the products like vitamins have to be stable compounds to be on the market and degrade very slowly. In the absence of oxygen or heat probably no degradation would occur. In a few weeks I’ll ask my friend that is working for a pharmaceutical company and get a better answer.
Eruopean Food Safety; 01-2015
Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of L-lysine monohydrochloride
produced by fermentation with Escherichia coli for all animal species based
on a dossier submitted by HELM AG on behalf of Meihua Holdings Group
2.5. Stability and homogeneity
2.5.1. Shelf life
The shelf life of L-lysine HCl was studied using three batches, packed in 25-kg paper bags and kept at 25C and 60% relative humidity (RH) for a two-year period. No losses of the active substance were observed after 24 months.April 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm #48457
The way I see it is even if vitamins lose some of their potency over time or foods lose some of their nutritional value, in a SHTF scenario when we’re may be not getting balanced diets, something is better than nothing.April 22, 2016 at 1:43 pm #48458
As we discuss food and nutrient values, I am reminded of stories from wartime Germany, and the eating of bread made with sawdust, and of Berlin being stripped of anything even reasonably edible except the linden trees.April 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm #48459
Regarding the vitamins, I’d be concerned about A, D, and E, particularly if they’re not the tablet or powder variety. D & E particularly are normally oil-based, and oil goes rancid fairly rapidly. Will you die from it? No, but it probably won’t do you any good if long out of date.April 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm #48460
What you stated about organic oils is true, however rancidity is primarily caused by oxygenation. So unopened and oxygen free storage will last much longer than open containers. Not that anyone is setup for this, but nitrogen purged storage will make almost everything last forever.April 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm #48461
“I am reminded of stories from wartime Germany, and the eating of bread made with sawdust, and of Berlin being stripped of anything even reasonably edible ”
Seems to me this topic would be a good thread discussion on foraging.April 22, 2016 at 10:38 pm #48462
as for oil based vitamins you can get injectable non refridgerated vials of it cheap last 10 or more years and you can drink it. the glass vials are sealed and air tight, tough to break and dirt cheap… vets have lots of them for your farm animals.April 23, 2016 at 4:06 am #48464
Out of curiosity I did some research and found a vitamin d2 d3 dificiency test on Amazon. Pretty expensive! ( not available in ny ).I also looked at long term storage of vitamins for space flight. Some interesting stuff there if you’re into multivitamins. Centrum I read doesn’t degrade after 4 months in space. But they wouldn’t be using normal dosages. So some special prep. They don’t want astronauts eating each other and keeping them psychologically fit is a top priority in low grav. If anyone has a smart AI and a rather large bunker….. PPPPPPPApril 23, 2016 at 4:40 am #48465
Brulen, not sure how much the test was that you saw, but I did order one a few years back (before I found a much better way), and it cost me $75, though that’s now down to $50. I did it because I’d become pretty well convinced that 5000 units per day was not only safe, but prudent. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t over the max recommended vitamin D blood level (I wasn’t – and never have been since, taking 5000 IU/day for a number of years now). Since taking 5000 IU/day and getting tested annually at my physical, it’s always in the low to mid-90s range (ng/ml). Anything under 100 is completely safe and still within normal limits on lab tests.
There’s good information at the Vitamin D Council’s web site:
I found out that although the Vitamin D level isn’t a normal part of my annual physical blood work (I’m fortunate to have a plan that includes an annual physical), I could request it from the physician, and it was included (ask for the 25(OH)D test). I had to pay a little extra (nowhere near $75) for it, but that was a bargain to know I was within normal limits. Since then, I haven’t even been charged for that test for whatever reason – I just have to ask for it. If your medical insurance doesn’t include basic blood work annually, then ask that it be included if your doctor orders blood chemistry labs for some other reason.
According to the Vitamin D Council information (their founder has done decades of extensive research on vitamin D), the D3 form is by far the better of the two, not the D2 form (see the above web page for more information on that).
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