The #1 Mistake You Make When Opening Canned Food

Be careful the next time you grab a can of beans or tuna from the pantry!

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If your pantry is anything like mine, it’s filled with cans of beans, soup, fruits, and vegetables. That’s because I know canned foods help meals come together quickly. They can easily be added to a variety of dishes or assembled to make a meal. Additionally, canned fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients since they are picked and packaged at their peak of freshness and ripeness. But the next time you use a canned product, you may be making a crucial mistake: keep reading to learn how to fix it so you can safely eat all the canned foods you want.

Related: How to Choose the Healthiest Canned Fruits and Vegetables, According to a Dietitian

The #1 mistake when opening cans

If you don’t wipe the top of your can before opening it, you’re making a mistake. Canned foods have come a long way before reaching your store shelves. They “went through warehouses, trucks, and maybe even planes,” says Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD of, “collecting dust and other general debris.” For this reason, he recommends that before opening a can, you wash and wipe the lid to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Jamie Mok, RDN and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agrees and advises consumers to always wash and wipe can lids to reduce and prevent the spread of germs and bacteria foodborne illnesses. She says that dust, grime and other germs that have collected on the lid can make their way into food if they aren’t cleaned first.

While it can be easy to overlook this food safety step when you’re immersed in meal prep and cooking, it’s a crucial and quick step to ensure your safety. In addition to wiping the top of your canned product before opening, washing your hands often, working on clean surfaces, and separating raw meats and seafood from other foods are other tips. safety to follow. Following these guidelines is crucial since each year, an estimated one in six Americans (or 48 million people) become ill from a foodborne illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

How to Wipe the Can Lid

Mok recommends following Food & Drug Administration and CDC guidelines that advise consumers to wash containers, including the tops of canned food lids, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use a scrub brush to reach inside edges or deep crevices. Also use this time to look for signs of deterioration during washing, she says, such as a bulge, dent or rust in the box. If the can is free of these markers, rinse it well with warm water, dry it, open it and use it in your recipe.

Related: Do canned foods expire?


Cleaning canning lids is an easy task. If you’re worried about forgetting, consider putting a note in your pantry or on your cans as a reminder until you get into the habit. Remember, taking those extra seconds to clean the lid is a quick way to follow food safety practices so you can stay healthy.

Read the original article on Eating Well.

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