Is it Safe to Eat Canned Food That Has Accidentally Frozen?


Question: I accidentally left a grocery bag containing some canned food in my garage overnight and the cans are now frozen. Is it ok to thaw the canned food and eat it?

Answer: Possibly - but you’ll need to be sure of a few things first. As the United States Department of Agriculture points out, frozen canned food that has been allowed to thaw at a temperature above 40 °F is not safe. Frozen cans that have thawed and refrozen are also not safe, so you'll need to be sure that wasn't the case in your situation. You should also discard any cans that are bulging.

If you’ve checked off the above precautions, you can safely defrost the frozen cans in the refrigerator. Before opening, check the seams on the cans; if they are leaking or have been damaged, throw out the food.

If the thawed canned food looks and smells normal (discard it if it doesn’t), you should thoroughly cook it right away. You can then eat it, refrigerate it, or freeze it for later use.

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