How Long Does Tuna Fish Last In The Fridge?

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Do you love throwing a can of tuna in your salad or sandwich for that delicious and quick protein boost? If yes, then it’s important to know how long does tuna fish last in the fridge.

Tuna is an edible fish that can be eaten raw under certain conditions. However, storing it properly is essential to prevent foodborne illnesses that could result from consuming spoiled tuna.

“In general, tuna should be consumed within two to three days of being opened if kept refrigerated,” advises Dr. S.J. McPhee, veterinarian at PetMD.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about keeping a can of open tuna fresh, including signs of spoilage and tips to extend its shelf life.

Keep reading to explore how proper storage techniques can help you keep tuna fresher for longer without compromising on taste and quality!

Discover The Shelf Life Of Tuna Fish In The Fridge

What Is The Shelf Life Of Tuna Fish In The Fridge?

Tuna fish is a popular seafood that is enjoyed by many people around the world. It is often used in sandwiches, salads, and as a main dish. However, if not stored properly, tuna can spoil quickly, leading to potential food poisoning. So, how long does tuna fish last in the fridge?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the temperature of your refrigerator, the packaging of the tuna, and the freshness of the fish itself. In general, unopened canned tuna has a shelf life of up to two years, while fresh tuna should be consumed within three days.

If you have opened a can of tuna but haven’t used all of it, transfer the remaining tuna into an airtight container and refrigerate it immediately for up to four days. If you’ve purchased fresh tuna from a supermarket or fish market, store it in the coldest part of your fridge at a temperature between 32°F and 40°F.

How Does The Shelf Life Of Tuna Fish In The Fridge Compare To Other Types Of Fish?

Tuna fish has a relatively short shelf life compared to other types of fish like salmon, which can last up to five days in the fridge when properly stored. However, some types of fish, such as cod or halibut, can only last up to two days in the fridge before spoiling.

In general, the fresher the fish, the longer it will last in the fridge. Proper storage is also crucial in determining the length of time a particular type of fish will remain safe to eat.

Is It Safe To Eat Tuna Fish Past Its Expiration Date?

The expiration date on canned tuna is usually a good indicator of how long it will last before going bad. However, in some cases, the tuna may still be safe to eat past its expiration date.

If you’re unsure about the safety of the tuna, use your senses to determine if it’s gone bad. Smell the tuna to see if it has a strong fishy odor or taste a small piece to see if it tastes off or sour. If either of these things are present, it’s best not to consume the tuna as it could make you sick.

What Are The Risks Of Eating Expired Tuna Fish?

“Eating expired tuna fish can lead to food poisoning, which includes symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting,” says Dr. Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center.

The risks associated with eating expired tuna fish are significant. In addition to potentially causing severe gastrointestinal distress, it can also lead to more serious health concerns like botulism or salmonella.

Botulism is a rare but serious form of food poisoning that can cause paralysis and even death. It is caused by eating foods contaminated with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can grow in improperly stored canned goods, including canned tuna. Symptoms of botulism include double vision, dizziness, dry mouth, and difficulty swallowing.

To avoid the risks associated with eating expired tuna fish, it’s important to properly store your tuna and always check the expiration date before consuming it.

Knowing the shelf life of tuna fish in the fridge is crucial for avoiding potential health hazards. Always remember to store your tuna properly and check the expiration date before consuming it. If in doubt, throw it out! Safety should always come first when it comes to the food we eat.

Factors That Affect The Freshness Of Tuna Fish

Temperature And Humidity

The temperature and humidity are the primary factors that affect the freshness of tuna fish. Tuna fish is a sensitive product, so it needs to be kept at low temperatures to prolong its shelf life.

Ideally, tuna fish should be stored at a temperature between 0°C and 4°C (32°F– 39°F). At this temperature, bacterial growth is minimal, and the quality and flavor of the fish remain intact. On the other hand, if the temperature rises above 5°C (41°F), the risk of bacterial growth increases significantly, which may lead to spoilage and loss of quality.

The storage area for tuna fish should also have a specific level of humidity. The ideal relative humidity is around 75% as it prevents dehydration or too much wetness in the fish. This way you can maintain the moisture content of the fish and prevent it from becoming dry while preserving its taste and texture.

Exposure To Air And Light

Another crucial factor that directly affects the freshness of tuna fish is exposure to air and light. Oxygen oxidizes the fats present in the flesh of the tuna, leading to an off-flavor from the oil’s degradation process. Moreover, exposure to sunlight causes tissue breakdown and discoloration of the fish flesh.

To avoid these problems, use vacuum-sealed packaging to keep tuna fresh during shipping or longer term storage. When exposed to zero oxygen levels, bacteria cannot proliferate or degrade the fat content of the meat. Also, tuna comes frozen or canned to consumers in tins free from harmful exposure.

Light requires more attention when storing than packaging because even small amounts of lighting can negatively impact beef color, stability, and shelf-life. Thus direct light should be avoided or bulbs emitting UV rays.

Quality Of The Fish Before Refrigeration

The quality of the fish before it is refrigerated significantly impacts its freshness and longevity in storage. When the tuna fish is freshly caught, it has a fantastic flavor and taste that will last for about 5-8 days without proper preservation techniques. Tuna spoils faster if the fishing process was done with improper temperatures ranging from sealife surface to hold environment.

Damaged or poorly cared for fishes on deck have different metabolization mechanisms that affect flesh consistency and meat color. Also, any outside factors such as stress reactions and rough handling may induce detrimental post-harvest changes.

Packaging And Storage Method

The packaging of tuna fish plays an essential role in preserving its freshness. Properly packaged tuna prevents contamination and exposure to air and light, ultimately affecting meat appearance, texture, and odor. Vacuum packagings tightly fit prevents oxygen availability and new bacteria growth while increasing time durability rations.

The ideal storage method is freezing because low temperatures prevent bacterial activity, ruiness potential decrease, keeping quality and safety intact. Canning also allows refrigeration prolongation but requires hot water bath sterilizing treatment beforehand.

Tuna fish lasts approximately two to three days once opened while stored in a refrigerator at four degrees Celsius., depending on freshness of the product accompanied by coldness conservation.

“Tuna markets worldwide require very fresh looking loins-demanding stoppage intervals after catching only minutes long-market desires determine specific related requirements.” -Food Science Journal

How long does tuna fish last in the fridge? By taking into account temperature, humidity, light, quality of the fish, packaging, and correct storage methods, you can ensure that tuna’s freshness can last up to 5-7 days if keeping in cold storage at an approximate temperature of (0°C – 4°C/32°F– 39°F), allowing flexibility for different preservation methods. It is essential to discard tuna fish that has a sour odor, slimy texture and beyond sell-by-date to eliminate potential health concerns.

Signs That Tuna Fish Has Gone Bad

The shelf life of tuna fish varies depending on the storage and handling conditions. Proper storage of tuna in a fridge can help to extend its freshness for a few days past its sell-by-date. However, bad or spoiled tuna fish can pose health risks if consumed. Here are some signs that indicate when tuna fish has gone bad:

Off Odor

A strong off-odor is one of the significant indicators that your tuna fish might have gone bad. Fresh tuna should smell mildly oceanic with no detectable foul odor. If you notice an unusual pungent scent, it could be an indication that the meat has started to spoil, and bacterial growth may have taken over.

“Bad tuna will have a sour, rancid smell.” -Seafood Health Facts


Fresh tuna appears beautiful with vibrant red flesh. When it starts going bad, the flesh begins to lose its color and turns brownish-gray. Discoloration can also occur at specific areas where bacteria are present, resulting in dark spots or patches on the tuna’s surface.

“If raw tuna smells bad or has unpleasant slime or discoloration, then it’s not good anymore.” -Natasha Bhuyan, MD, family physician based in Phoenix, Arizona


Tuna fish should feel firm and slightly moist when fresh. As the quality deteriorates, the texture often changes, turning slimy or slippery. This sliminess results from increased bacterial activity within the flesh hence making it soft and gooey, which means that it’s not suitable for consumption.

“Fresh foods like tuna shouldn’t feel slimy, so if it does, that’s a clear sign that it’s gone bad.” -Myvegan

Texture Changes

Tuna is known for its chewy texture when cooked. If you notice any mushiness or softer texture than is typical for tuna, then the meat could be bad. Also, if there are some cracks in the flesh, that means the fish has already dehydrated because of poor storage conditions.

“Bad tuna feels slimy and sticky to the touch and makes your hands smell unpleasant.” -PureHavenly

When purchasing tuna from grocery stores, always check the label to determine how fresh the tuna is and use or freeze it before its best-by date. When storing leftover tuna in the fridge, wrap it tightly in plastic or aluminum foil and place it in an air-tight container. By following the proper storage guidelines, you can ensure that your tuna stays fresher for longer, reducing the risk of foodborne illness caused by consuming bad or spoiled tuna fish.

How To Store Tuna Fish In The Fridge To Prolong Its Freshness

Tuna fish is a highly nutritious food item that can be consumed in various ways, including sandwiches and salads. However, storing it incorrectly can lead to spoilage and bacterial growth, which may cause food poisoning. Therefore, proper storage of tuna fish is crucial to prolong its freshness and maintain its quality for longer periods.

Wrap Tightly In Plastic Wrap

To keep your tuna fresh in the fridge and prevent bacterial contamination, it’s recommended to wrap it tightly in plastic before refrigerating. This ensures that no air reaches the surface of the fish, keeping it sealed and preventing moisture loss that leads to drying off and rapid spoilage. Besides, wrapping also prevents any cross-contamination from other foods in the refrigerator that may harbor bacteria.

“Always wrap your tuna tightly in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container.” -Joel Gamoran

Place In An Airtight Container

The next step you should take once you have properly wrapped your tuna fish in plastic is placing it inside an airtight container to shield it from strong odors and flavors from other foods in the fridge. An odorless, clear glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid helps preserve fish’s flavor and aroma besides safeguarding against accidental spills or leaks in the refrigerator. Moreover, storing tuna this way protects seafood from exposure to light, which triggers oxidation and accelerates spoilage.

“When storing cooked or canned tuna in the fridge, transfer it to an airtight container to retain its original texture and flavor for 2 to 3 days.” -USDA

Store In The Coldest Part Of The Fridge

Proper storage temperature is critical in maintaining tuna freshness and safety. It’s important to store your packaged or freshly cooked fish in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which typically lies between 32-40°F (0-4°C). Hence, storing it in the main trunk compartment of the fridge ensures that it stays cold enough by preventing temperatures above 40°F(4°C), which speed up bacterial growth. This helps extend the shelf life of your tuna fish for up to three days.

“Seafood like tuna should always be stored at a safe temperature below 40°F(4°C) to reduce harmful bacterial growth.” -FDA

Proper storage techniques are crucial when it comes to maintaining tuna’s freshness and quality. Therefore, it’s essential to follow the recommended guidelines discussed above while handling, storing, and preparing tuna to prevent foodborne illnesses and guarantee maximum enjoyment of this nutritious seafood.

Quick And Easy Recipes To Use Up Tuna Fish Before It Expires

Tuna fish is a popular ingredient in many households due to its versatility and easily accessible nature. However, it’s important to keep in mind that once opened, tuna fish has a limited shelf life. So how long does tuna fish last in the fridge? Typically, tuna fish will last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator once it’s been opened.

If you find yourself with expiring tuna in your fridge, don’t worry! Here are two quick and easy recipes to help use up your tuna before it reaches its expiration date:

Tuna Salad Sandwich

A classic tuna salad sandwich is a perfect lunchtime meal that can be made in just minutes!

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Bread of your choice
  1. In a small bowl, mix together tuna, mayo, celery, onion, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  2. Toast bread until golden brown.
  3. Scoop tuna mixture onto one slice of bread and place another slice on top.
  4. Enjoy!

Tuna Melt

A quick and delicious way to use up canned tuna is by making a tuna melt. Using just a few ingredients, you can turn your soon-to-be-expired tuna into a tasty snack or light dinner.

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar and mozzarella work well)
  1. In a small bowl, mix together tuna, mayo, and onion.
  2. Toast bread until golden brown.
  3. Scoop tuna mixture onto one slice of bread.
  4. Add shredded cheese to top of tuna mixture.
  5. Place sandwich under broiler for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Enjoy!
“Canned tuna is also versatile because it runs the gamut from an economical choice for home cooks on a budget to high-end gourmet imported canned varieties. It’s also worth noting that light canned tuna packs lower in mercury are better options, particularly for women of childbearing age and children.” -Fishtech Group

Don’t let your expiring tuna go to waste! These easy recipes are perfect for using up your tuna before it expires and can be made in just a few minutes!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the typical shelf life of tuna fish in the fridge?

The typical shelf life of tuna fish in the fridge is between 3-5 days. It is important to keep the fish refrigerated at a temperature of 40°F or below to prevent bacteria growth which can cause spoilage.

Can you extend the shelf life of tuna fish by storing it in a certain way?

Yes, you can extend the shelf life of tuna fish by storing it properly. After opening the can or package, transfer the tuna to an airtight container. You can also place the container in the coldest part of the fridge, such as the back. Additionally, covering the tuna with olive oil or water can help prolong its shelf life.

What are the signs that tuna fish has gone bad in the fridge?

If tuna fish has gone bad, it will have a sour or rancid smell. The fish may also appear discolored or have a slimy texture. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the fish immediately to avoid food poisoning or illness.

Is it safe to eat tuna fish that has been in the fridge for longer than the recommended time?

No, it is not safe to eat tuna fish that has been in the fridge for longer than the recommended time. Consuming spoiled or expired tuna can lead to food poisoning or illness. It is important to always follow the recommended shelf life and storage guidelines for tuna fish.

How can you properly store leftover tuna fish to ensure it lasts as long as possible?

To properly store leftover tuna fish, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it as soon as possible. You can also cover the tuna with olive oil or water to help prolong its shelf life. Be sure to consume the leftover tuna within 3-5 days to avoid spoilage and potential illness.

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