8 Long Shelf Life Foods That Can Go Bad Sooner Than You Think

8 Long Shelf Life Foods That Can Go Bad Sooner Than You Think

8 “Long Shelf Life” Foods That Will Actually Go Bad Faster Than You Think


Stockpiling food for long-term survival is crucial for any grid-down disaster situation. However, it’s important to understand that not all foods with a long shelf life will last forever. While some foods may claim to have a lengthy lifespan, there are factors that can affect their quality and safety over time.

In this article, we will shed light on 8 “long shelf life” foods that may not last as long as expected. By understanding the limitations of these foods, you can make more informed decisions when planning your emergency food supply.

1. Canned Foods

Canned foods, such as canned vegetables, fruits, and meats, are popular choices for long-term storage due to their extended shelf life. However, it’s essential to note that the quality of canned foods may deteriorate over time. Factors such as temperature fluctuations and acidic environments can lead to can corrosion and compromised seals.

– Rotate your canned foods regularly, consuming older cans first.
– Inspect cans for any signs of bulging, rust, or leaks before consuming.
– Store canned foods in a cool, dry place to maximize their shelf life.

2. Bottled Water

Water is a survival essential, and storing bottled water is a common practice. Although water itself doesn’t spoil, the plastic bottles it comes in can degrade over time, potentially contaminating the water. Additionally, if stored in hot environments or exposed to direct sunlight, the plastic bottles can release harmful chemicals into the water.

– Regularly check the expiration dates on your bottled water and rotate it accordingly.
– Store water in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
– Consider investing in water purification methods, such as water filters or water purification tablets, as a backup.

3. Dry Goods

Dry goods, including grains, pasta, and beans, are often considered long-lasting food items. However, they can lose their nutritional value and become rancid over time, leading to an unpleasant taste and potential health risks. Factors such as exposure to oxygen, moisture, and pests can accelerate the degradation process.

– Store dry goods in airtight containers or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to prolong their shelf life.
– Consider vacuum-sealing portions of dry goods to prevent oxygen exposure.
– Regularly inspect stored dry goods for signs of insect infestation or moisture.

4. Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is a convenient dairy product to have on hand during emergencies. However, it is important to note that even though powdered milk has a longer shelf life compared to fresh milk, it can still spoil over time. Moisture and humidity can cause the powder to clump and develop an off-putting odor and taste.

– Store powdered milk in airtight containers or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to prevent moisture absorption.
– Keep powdered milk in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
– Consider storing smaller portions to minimize the risk of spoilage when opening larger containers.

5. Dried Herbs and Spices

Dried herbs and spices are commonly stored for cooking purposes and flavor enhancement. While the flavor potency may diminish over time, the main concern with these items is their vulnerability to moisture and heat. Moisture can cause clumping, and heat can accelerate the evaporation of essential oils, leading to a loss of flavor.

– Keep dried herbs and spices in airtight containers in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
– Consider storing smaller portions to maintain freshness, especially for spices you don’t frequently use.
– Perform occasional aroma and taste tests to ensure the quality of your stored herbs and spices.

6. Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils, such as olive oil and vegetable oil, are staples in many kitchens and can also be part of your long-term food storage plan. However, these oils can turn rancid over time due to exposure to light, heat, and air. Rancid oils not only have an unpleasant taste but can also be harmful to your health.

– Store vegetable oils in dark-colored, tightly sealed bottles or containers to protect them from light exposure.
– Keep oils in a cool, dark place to reduce temperature fluctuations.
– Perform occasional smell and taste tests to ensure the quality of stored oils.

7. Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast cereals are often perceived as long-lasting foods due to their low moisture content. However, they can lose their crunch and flavor over time. Exposure to air can cause cereals to become stale, while moisture can lead to mold growth and spoilage.

– Transfer cereals to airtight containers to preserve their freshness and prevent moisture absorption.
– Store cereals in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
– Consider vacuum-sealing smaller portions to maintain freshness when opening larger packages.

8. Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is a popular choice for coffee lovers who want a quick cup without the hassle. However, it’s important to note that instant coffee can lose its flavor and quality over time when not stored properly. Exposure to air, moisture, and heat can lead to the deterioration of flavor and aroma.

– Store instant coffee in airtight containers or individual packets to minimize exposure to air and moisture.
– Keep instant coffee in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
– Consider smaller packaging options or single-serve sachets to ensure freshness and prevent waste.

My 2 Cents

When it comes to long-term food storage, it’s crucial to be aware of the limitations of certain “long shelf life” foods. While these foods may have extended expiration dates, factors such as temperature, light exposure, and moisture can compromise their quality and safety.

To ensure the longevity of your emergency food supply, follow these tips:
– Regularly inspect and rotate your stock, consuming older items first.
– Store food in proper containers, such as airtight containers or Mylar bags.
– Maintain a cool, dry, and dark storage environment.
– Consider investing in water purification methods as a backup.
– Perform occasional sensory tests to check for any signs of spoilage.

By staying knowledgeable about the shelf life and storage conditions of your emergency foods, you can confidently prepare for any grid-down disaster situation.