How safe are canned foods?

September is here and kids are on their way back to school – albeit in a much different environment than usual. For many families, the end of summer means that they are reverting back to a compressed schedule, looking for ways to make cooking easier. Some choose to purchase canned foods as they are both convenient and, in some cases, less expensive than fresh foods. The question is … are canned foods safe?

The most common perception is that canned foods are not as good as fresh foods. But not so fast! Compared to fresh produce, canned foods are far less likely to cause illness. Modern commercial canning processes keep food safe for long periods of time. Air-tight containers and the application of heat during the canning process destroy microorganisms and prevent spoilage. In addition, canning deactivates enzymes that cause food to breakdown.

What about the nutritional value of canned food? Once again, the perception is they are not as nutritious as fresh or frozen foods. Think again! Generally speaking, foods are canned within hours of arriving at a cannery, locking in their nutrients. Foods like canned tomatoes and carrots are generally heated during the canning process which promotes the release of carotenoids thus increasing their nutritional value. This in contrast to fresh foods that travel for days and sometimes weeks to market after harvest. They lose precious nutrients and run the risk of being contaminated while in transit.

The message here is that canned goods are not necessarily bad. As with any packaged food product, you should read the label and know what you are getting. Avoid products with high salt content or added sugar. Also, be aware of “best before” dates and the condition of the can. If the can is dented or has been sitting for a long time, choose another. Also, be sure to store them properly. The best storage temperature is 50 to 75 degrees F.

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Orchard Health Foods

10 Keith Ave, Unit 202
Collingwood, ON
L9Y 0W5
Phone: 705-293-4040