A Test of Long Term Foods from the 1970’s, part 2

San Andy powdered eggs

Sam Andy Whole Egg Mix

This is second part of the tests of long term food storage. Because of some questions I received yesterday, I want to start by stating my methodology.

  • The first thing that I do is to examine the exterior of the can to be sure that the integrity of the can has not been compromised.  Check the seams for signs of corrosion.
  • Read the label on the can to determine the ingredients.  If there are any oils, be very careful about rancidity.  For instance the dehydrated bananas, I checked yesterday listed coconut oil in the ingredients and smelled strongly of rancidity.
  • I then open the cans and checked the smell, looking for odors that indicate rot or rancidity.
  • Check the color of the contents.  Expect the color to have changed to some degree.  But look for variations in color and signs of mold.
  • If we decide to taste test the contents, we start with a very small sample.  Just a little on the end of your finger.  If it tastes ok and we don’t get sick we may decide to try a larger sample.

The first can that we opened today was whole eggs mix packed by Sam Andy.  The ingredients listed are whole eggs, non-fat dry milk, corn oil, salt and artificial color.  The label stated they were packed in a “stabilized storage atmosphere”.  I have been told that this means nitrogen, but have not verified it.  When I first punctured the can with the can opener, I could detect a slight rotten egg smell.  The color of the eggs appeared ok, but I declined to taste test it for two reasons.  One the smell and the second the oil was probably rancid.  There were three cans of this product all appeared about the same.

Beehive Food Carrots

Beehive Food Storehouse carrots, bad odor

Honey Bee whole eggs

Honey Bee dried whole egg blend cooked. I declined taste it.

The next can was from the Beehive Food Storehouse, a company I am not familiar with.  The only indication of its contents was that someone had written puff-dried carrots in ink.  The can had some exterior corrosion but the seals seemed to be intact.  A price of $3.95 was on the top.  The contents did not look like any dehydrated carrots that I have ever seen.  They were discolored and very shriveled up and looked strange plus they gave off a strange odor.  I would feed these to the critters.

The third sample that we opened was a dried whole egg blend by Honey Bee.  The can was about the toughest can I found to open.  All the seams appeared intact.  The ingredients listed were whole eggs, corn syrup and salt.  The price marked on the top was $5.45.  The contents were about the right color and had almost no odor.  The contents looked so good that I thought about eating some.  My wife mixed some up following the instructions.  After they were cooked, they looked and smelled so bad I declined to taste them.

Next, I opened a can of Pack Away freeze dried hamburger patties from 1979.  The can was in good shape and the patties appeared good.  The can had no unusual odors.  I have known the owner of Pack Away Foods for many years, so I called him up and after a short discussion, cooked and ate one of the patties.  They tasted fine.  Even though they are 34 years old, I would have no problem eating them.  Although I would recommend that if you have some in your storage, it is a good time to rotate them.  The Pack Away Company still exists and currently has some excellent fruit products on the market.  One of the dealers carrying their products is http://www.freezedryguy.com/.

Pack Away meat patties

Pack Away freeze dried raw hambuger patties, tasted fine

Mountain House freeze dried pineapple

Mountain House Freeze Dried Pineapple. Great taste

The last can I opened was Mountain House freeze-dried pineapple.  The can was dated as being canned in the 314 day of 1979.  The can had some light corrosion on the top, but was generally in good shape.  The contents looked fine and we had no hesitation about eating it.  The taste was acceptable and I am sitting here snacking on it.  Again, due to its age, if you have any in your storage I would consider rotating it.

There are several other brands that I would like to test and I will try to come up with samples.  But the results support an idea that I have had for some time.  Buy from companies that have been around for some time and have a good track record.  You will notice that the products that failed were mostly from companies that have come and gone.  Buy the best you can afford.


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17 Responses to A Test of Long Term Foods from the 1970’s, part 2

  1. ke4sky says:

    Thanks for this, Howard.

    This is the best testimonial for the Freeze Dry Guy and Mountain House you could ask for.

    I would like to hear about a taste test with Red Feather butter and Bega cheese which has been in storage for more than 20 years. I have always rotated my stocks before ten years. Every can I have tried, stored in a cool basement, stacked in a GI footlocker raised off the concrete floor on a wooden pallet has been fine, so I think that interval could be safely extended, but it would sure be nice to know.

  2. Winston Smith says:

    You have balls as big as church bells. Thank you for the info.

  3. John R says:

    It still boils down to what I was told as a young teenager. Smell it first, if it smells good, eat it….

  4. ozarked says:

    Thanks for the useful, helpful information. Good job.

  5. Never eat rancid food. It can make you ill immediately. You won’t die, but your intestines won’t thank you. Do not feed rancid food to your animals.

    However, according to Livestrong.com:
    “Chemical Damage

    “Rancid oils may produce damaging chemicals and substances that may not make you immediately ill, but can cause harm over time. Chemicals such as peroxides and aldehydes can damage cells and contribute to atherosclerosis. Free radicals produced by rancid oil can also damage DNA in cells. Produced by toxins as well as by normal bodily processes, free radicals can cause damage to arteries as well act as carcinogens, substances that can cause cancer.”

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/459786-can-you-get-sick-from-eating-rancid-oil/#ixzz2gKNLJD00

  6. Chuck Findlay says:

    I pressure canned hamburgs bacon and some hotdogs 1.5 years ago, it’s going to be interesting to try them this summer when going camping.

    I have a 10-pound bag of meatballs i bought at Gordon Food and am going to can them in the next week or so. I want to give them one-year on the shelf and then will try them.

  7. After the first testing i replied and will again, all my Sam Andy foods from the mid 70s were stale accept the powdered milk, opened and used several cans in the last 15 or so years, all were good,but not the other stuffs.

  8. bill says:

    saw a stash of canned milk in a youtube vid on exploring old mine shafts. some one left them there as a bug out stash many years ago. great place to hide from planet x

    • Paul says:

      hah wow, thats how I ended up here too. Was searching for some info on the Beehive instant milk powder and this was only page on web which mentioned the company

  9. Palaytiasdreams says:

    THANK YOU for doing this. We were just given a year’s worth of food from Sam Andy’s that is at least fifty years old. We plan to do just what you did.

    I appreciate your advice!

  10. Aandune says:

    I appreciate this info but I’m looking for information on whole wheat. I have a number of #10 cans packed back in 1980. The cans are a bit rusted but intact. I don’t know if they were packed with a nitrogen packet or not. I’m just wondering if the wheat would still be safe to use?

  11. Debbie Grant says:

    me too, I have a bunch of #10 cans of whole wheat but they are a little rusted on the outside. Do I just throw them all out or give them a try? How do I tell?

  12. LESLEY Grant says:

    I have a TON of these! Do you know who would want these items? (Sell, or give to a hated neighbor? Jk)

  13. injun999 says:

    They found wheat in the pyramids that was still good.

  14. CAT says:

    Hi! I have recently purchased a house and have found a few dozen cans/meals from Sam Andy. Does anyone know if anyone would be interested in them or should I just throw away?


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