top of page

Canned Food A Food Safety Controversy?

Canned food is a convenient and affordable way to stock your pantry with healthy and delicious foods. However, canned food has also been the subject of controversy in recent years, due to concerns about food safety.

One of the biggest concerns about canned food is the potential for botulism, a rare but serious illness caused by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Botulism can lead to paralysis and even death. While botulism is very rare, it can occur if canned food is not properly processed or stored.

In 2015, a man in California died from botulism after eating canned chili that had been contaminated with the bacteria. The chili had been canned at home, but the man had not followed proper canning procedures.

Another concern about canned food is the potential for metal leaching.

When food is canned, it comes into contact with the metal of the can. This can cause some of the metal to leach into the food, especially if it is acidic. Over time, this can affect the flavour of the food and may even pose a health risk.

In 2017, a study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that found that canned tomatoes contained high levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has been linked to a number of health problems, including reproductive problems, cancer, and heart disease.

In addition, canned food can sometimes become contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella or Listeria. This can happen during the canning process or if the can is damaged.

Food poisoning from canned food can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and fever. In 2018, the FDA recalled over 10 million cans of soup from Campbell Soup Company after it was discovered that the cans were contaminated with Listeria.

How to reduce the risk of food poisoning from canned food:

There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of food poisoning from canned food:

  • Only buy canned food from reputable brands.

  • Inspect cans for damage before buying them. Do not buy cans that are dented, rusted, or have swollen lids.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before opening a can of food.

  • Transfer leftover canned food to a clean, airtight container and store it in the fridge for no more than 3-4 days.

  • Discard any canned food that has an off smell or appearance.


Canned food can be a safe and healthy option, as long as it is properly processed, stored, and handled. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with canned food and to take steps to reduce those risks.

To learn more and to find out about the courses available call Sue Richardson

01892 524957 or email


bottom of page