Safety of Open Cans in Refrigerators

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Keeping leftover food safe, whether it's fresh-cooked or taken from a can, for another meal is both frugal and prudent. Storing the food at refrigerator temperature is the most important part of that equation, because it slows bacterial growth to a crawl. In the case of canned foods, it's also a good idea to transfer leftovers from the can to a glass or plastic food storage container before it goes into the fridge. They're not unsafe in their can but they might develop off-flavors.

It's Uncanny

Aside from their untidy "bachelor" appearance, food in cans, according to generations of mom lore, was not supposed to be safe. Until 1991, when lead solder was finally banned from use, there was some substance to that view. With long-term lead poisoning out of the picture, leaving your food in the can poses no direct health risk. Still, your foods -- especially acidic foods, such as tomatoes -- can develop a metallic taste from the can. Transferring your food to a smaller, food-safe container eliminates that concern. You'll still want to eat up your leftovers within three to four days, as with any other food.

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