Is canned food bad for you? If you pay attention to some health practitioners, canned food is the worst kind of food you can eat. The problem is that they base their opinions on outdated information and their own prejudices. You can get bad food as well as good food from cans, and it all depends on the source of the food and the condition of the cans.
Canning has been around for a long time, since at least the year 1810. Despite the word giving the impression that only cans are used, other materials are also used. Canning is a method of food preservation that uses glass, steel, tin and aluminum containers.
What some people fail to understand is that in some areas of the world, canned food is far safer than the so-called fresh food alternatives. Not everyone in the world lives in a place with modern shopping environments.
Outdated Information on Canned Food
I read a Healthline article about canned food updated in October 2019. It was mostly good information, except for the information concerning BPA (bisphenol-A). Most of what they referenced was from studies conducted in years prior to 2016. A lot can change in just a few short years.
Based on my own research, most American companies that produce or distribute canned food products have moved away from BPA, trace amounts of which can migrate to the food itself. I’m talking about companies like Armour, Hormel and Libby’s when it comes to meat products. Of course, I can’t vouch for other companies, especially those where the manufacturing process isn’t scrutinized.
That’s one of the reasons I won’t eat a lot of local brands of canned food when I’m living in the Philippines.
Food in an Open Market
Some food is left out in the open in open markets, for hours at a time. I’ve seen it myself in the Philippines. I will trust eating meat from a can over meat that isn’t refrigerated (for hours) every time. Although I won’t write about it in detail, I suffered from food poisoning from ground beef obtained from an open market once. In that particular case, my mother-in-law was to blame, and that’s all I’ll say about it.
Street food is just as bad. I know this because I watched a relative cook chicken and pork parts that had been basting in the sun for more than a couple of hours. At one time, I regularly bought barbecued chicken from a street side vendor. Never again. It doesn’t matter that I’m emphasizing meat. The same thing holds true for fruit and vegetables, especially when you see all the flies buzzing around it.
The Canned Food I Eat
I can’t name all the brands without looking at them, and I don’t stock up on much. I don’t buy corned beef from Libby’s because the variety I like is too expensive here. As for luncheon meat, I rarely buy SPAM because it’s too expensive. I usually keep a few cans of corned beef and luncheon meat imported from Australia and New Zealand instead of Brazil. Although I can go for months without buying them, I sometimes buy canned tuna, chili (with or without beans), and beef stew.
I don’t eat canned vegetables or fruit (except for tomato sauce and tomato paste). It’s easier to get fresh mangoes, papayas, green beans and okra near home than it is to visit a store. Some of it grows in my backyard. The ground beef, pork, chicken, and fish (other than canned tuna) I buy doesn’t come from cans either, and it doesn’t come from an open market.
Image by Ll1324, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons