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Practices -- Storage

A consumer wants to know why one should not store commercially canned food in the can after it has been opened?

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When a can of acidic food is opened, oxygen in the air can catalyze a reaction between the acidic food and the metal in the can. As a result, the food will have a metallic taste. If the food is accidentally tasted or eaten, it may taste bad but will not be harmful. To avoid this, do not store any food, regardless of whether it is acidic or not, in the original metal can after opening. Simply transfer the food from an opened can into a glass or plastic container that can be tightly covered. The exception to this rule is food that is not packed in any liquid, such as coffee or nonfat dried milk. These types of food can be stored in the can after opening.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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