Shelf Life Tips
- How long does unopened crab meat last? The precise answer depends to a large extent on storage conditions - to maximize the shelf life of canned crab meat, store in a cool, dry area.
How long does unopened canned crab meat last at room temperature? Properly stored, unopened canned crab meat that was sold unrefrigerated will generally stay at best quality for about 3 to 5 years, although it will usually remain safe to use after that.
Is unopened canned crab meat safe to use after the "expiration" date on the can or package? Yes, provided it is properly stored and the can is undamaged - commercially packaged crab meat will typically carry a "Best By," "Best if Used By," "Best Before", or "Best When Used By" date but this is not a safety date, it is the manufacturer's estimate of how long the canned crab meat will remain at peak quality.
Storage time shown is for best quality only - after that, the canned crab meat's texture, color or flavor may change, but in most cases, it will still be safe to consume if it has been stored properly, the package is undamaged, and there are no signs of spoilage (see below).
How can you tell if canned crab meat is bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the canned crab meat: if the canned crab meat develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, or if mold appears, it should be discarded.
Discard all canned crab meat from cans or packages that are leaking, rusting, bulging or severely dented.
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Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here