Wed, Apr 25, 2012 - Page 16 News List

Storing opened canned goods in fridge does not cause toxicity: experts
罐頭食品放冰箱 專家:不會鋁中毒

A shopper walks down a food aisle at a supermarket in Hong Kong on April 12.

Photo: EPA

Aluminum has recently been found in tap water, donuts, and fried dough sticks. This has also caused an e-mail making the rounds on the Internet, warning that “opened canned foods should never be stored in the refrigerator. Beware of aluminum toxicity,” to once again stir up a debate.

The e-mail alleges that unfinished satay sauce, corn or tuna in aluminum cans that are stored in the refrigerator can cause chronic aluminum toxicity, and that if symptoms such as depression, fatigue, or chest tightness occur it might be signs of poisoning. It suggests that people should put unfinished canned foods in glass or porcelain containers prior to putting them in the refrigerator.

The article seemed genuine enough. The name and contact number of an employee from the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) were even included in the article, making it look quite authentic. As soon as Lin Chieh-liang, director of the Department of Toxicology at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, heard about the article, he said it was nonsense because all cans have a coating inside and that cans are not even made of aluminum, begging the question how they could cause aluminum toxicity. The ITRI employee whose name appears in the article also said long ago he did not write the report.

Apparently the only type of cans that currently requires being disinfected at high temperatures are cans made of iron. The cans are coated inside to keep foods from being directly exposed to the iron and spoiling from oxidization. Lin says that a zinc coating is usually applied inside iron cans, and sometimes another layer of coating is also added. Therefore, if anything got out, it would be zinc, but zinc is something the human body needs and it has a very low level of toxicity. Large quantities of zinc would upset the stomach, causing symptoms similar to stomach upsets such as diarrhea. As long as canned foods are stored properly and consumed in appropriate amounts, there is no need to worry.


1. fatigue n.

疲倦 (pi2 juan4)

例: Fatigue is one of the main side effects of the drug.


2. spoil v.

變質 (bian4 zhi2)

例: If you don’t store it well, it will spoil within a day or two.


3. germfree adj.

無菌的 (wu2 jun1 de5)

例: It is important to keep the environment germfree when a surgery is being performed.


Cheng Wei-chih, head of the Division of Food Safety under the Food and Drug Administration, says that as soon as a can is opened it is no longer a germfree environment, and that it is always a bad idea to leave it out for an extended period of time. Canned foods that are not finished could be stored in glass or porcelain containers with plastic wrap covering them before being placed inside the refrigerator to avoid cutting oneself on the sharp edges.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)







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