Shelf Life Tips
- How long do unopened canned sardines last? The precise answer depends to a large extent on storage conditions - to maximize the shelf life of canned sardines, store in a cool, dry area.
How long does an unopened can of sardines last at room temperature? Properly stored, an unopened can of sardines will generally stay at best quality for about 3 to 5 years, although it will usually remain safe to use after that.
Are unopened canned sardines safe to use after the "expiration" date on the can or package? Yes, provided they are properly stored and the can is undamaged - commercially packaged canned sardines will typically carry a "Best By," "Best if Used By," "Best Before", or "Best When Used By" date but this is not a safety date, it is the manufacturer's estimate of how long the canned sardines will remain at peak quality.
Storage time shown is for best quality only - after that, the canned sardines' texture, color or flavor may change, but in most cases, they will still be safe to consume if they have been stored properly, the can is undamaged, and there are no signs of spoilage (see below).
How can you tell if canned sardines are bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the canned sardines: if the canned sardines develop an off odor, flavor or appearance, or if mold appears, they should be discarded.
Discard all canned sardines from cans or packages that are leaking, rusting, bulging or severely dented.
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Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here