Celebrating Canned Food Month

By: Katie Burns   Date 2/4/10

Recently there's been lots of discussion about the quality and safety of canned foods, but its important to remember the many benefits that canned foods bring to our food supply.  So, in honor of Canned Food Month, I wanted to highlight the history and value of one of the most durable, widely available and reasonably priced foods.

·         Where did "can" come from? "Canning" began as a means to preserve and provide large amounts of quality food to French soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars around 1809; however, the glass jars that were used at that time were replaced a few years later with tin or wrought-ion "canisters," later shortened to "cans."

·         How did canned food become popular? Inventions and improvements in food production, along with a rise in urban populations, in the mid- to late-1800s decreased the cost of canned food products and caused an increase in demand.  Many of today's popular food companies got their start around this time producing canned food products for the urban dweller.

·         What about today's canned food? The manufacturing processes and technology of canning have been updated since the mid-1800s to ensure that canned food provides safe, quality nutrition with varied food options at an affordable price.


The most important thing to me about canned food is its safety.  The canning process significantly reduces any risk of microbial contamination.  Canning also eliminates contamination from other elements during production, transportation and storage.  It also locks in nutrition and extends the shelf life of food.  There have been instances of canned food proving to be microbiologically safe more than 100 years after it was produced! 

As we become more focused on convenience, price and taste when we're shopping, things like canned soups, juices, tuna, etc become staples in our homes, especially mine.  Join me this winter as I sit back with a nice bowl of soup and be confident that you're eating a safe a nutritious food.