Be careful with cans

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Do not store canned fruits and vegetables in open cans

Tin cans often release metal residues into the contents after opening. The canned fruits and vegetables contained should therefore either be eaten after opening or immediately transferred to another container, the Federal Association of Food Chemists in the Public Service (BLC) warns in a current announcement.

Storage of canned fruits and the like in the cans is imperative after opening the canned food, said Detmar Lehmann from the BLC. Because with the addition of oxygen, ingredients in the packaging begin to dissolve and pass over to the contents. The canned fruits often taste slightly metallic, for example because tin is released from the can wall. Many cans have a protective coating on the inside (e.g. made of plastic) to prevent material diffusion, but can openers and forks can damage the coating. It is therefore best to remove the contents immediately after opening the can - storage of canned fruits and the like in open preserves is urgently to be avoided, explained the BLC experts.

Eating or decanting the contents of cans According to the food chemists, some of the cans do not even have an appropriate protective coating. Because consumers have become so used to the metallic taste of canned fruits and vegetables that manufacturers don't have to worry about complaints if they omit the protective coating, the BLC explained. Consumers can tell whether the protective lacquer is missing by the fact that "the can looks marbled from the inside," emphasized Detmar Lehmann. According to the experts, the lack of protective varnish is not a problem as long as the canned goods are closed. Until then, "the can remains a closed system, there is a certain balance between the can wall and the liquid," explained Detmar Lehmann. As soon as the cans are opened and oxygen enters, the system gets out of balance and the metal can wall releases tin into the contents. Therefore, consumers should “eat or refill” the canned fruits and vegetables they contain immediately after opening, emphasized Lehmann.

Health risk from canned food? If the food remains in the tins even after opening, various materials from the can wall can be transferred to the contents. The possible contamination of the canned fruits with tin is a health risk that should not be underestimated. Because although tin is generally rated as non-toxic, ingestion in larger quantities puts strain on the kidneys and can cause significant health problems in the long term, the BLC expert explained. Food chemists also warn that the contents of the can are not eaten if the cans already have lids open. In such cases there is a risk that the preservation was not carried out properly and there is a risk of life-threatening poisoning in the form of botulism. (fp)

Image: Andreas Stix /

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