How long does tuna salad last

In this age of health food conscious society, seafood enjoys enormous popularity. Deep-sea fishes are highly nutritious and away from polluting environments, increasing their nutrition quality and almost negligible amounts of any pollutant chemicals. Seafood is high in nutrients like protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for bone health. Seafood is defined as any form of sea life that fits human consumption and includes fish, shellfish, and roe. Shrimp, Salmon, Tuna, and Alaskan Pollock are popular seafood.

Here we will discuss in detail how long does tuna salad last and how to store it properly.

tuna salad
Photo by Farhad Ibrahimzade on Unsplash

How long does tuna salad last technically? 

Tuna is an extremely popular seafood and commonly used in salads and sandwiches. Also, Tuna can be had grilled, baked, or fried. Tuna is a large fish and is readily available in both fresh and canned forms. Fresh Tuna is available in a semi-frozen or fully frozen state. Typically fresh Tuna is pouched, meaning it’s vacuum-packed in a pouch to preserve its freshness and keep it away from contamination from air or water.

The Tuna salad’s shelf life depends on the freshness of ingredients and how it’s stored. Storage conditions are always the prime factor in determining the life of any food. Due to meat and mayonnaise used, Tuna salad will start to deteriorate very fast. Faster than most people can realize.

USDA has a thumb rule for the storage of different foods, provided you take proper precautions. As per USDA, Tuna salad will last about 3 to 5 days in the fridge. The temperature is controlled at or below 40°F. Also, recommended by USDA, you shouldn’t leave any food outside for more than 1 to 2 hours. 

If you leave Tuna outside at room temperature it will have a short shelf life. Any meat has a higher tendency to spoil faster than vegetables or fruits at room temperature. The difference in time will also depend on the room temperature. The higher the temperature, the faster food will spoil. To maximize the duration, quality, and human consumption safety factor of the Tuna salad, it is essential to either consume it quickly or refrigerate it immediately.

Why does food get spoiled?

Let’s get into the science of why food gets spoiled. Air and water around us carry pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can cause disease. They cannot affect us as we maintain cleanliness and hygiene. However, they are ever-present in smaller amounts everywhere. They are also present in the Tuna salad, but in minimal amounts, so we are safe until it is fresh.

Keeping Tuna salad outside for longer while being exposed to these pathogens will only help them multiply faster and spoil the food. This holds irrespective of the Tuna being fresh, cooked, or canned. Preserved forms like a smoked or pickled variety of Tuna should ideally last longer, but I would advise against pushing your luck when it comes to food hygiene. Tuna salad will contain mayonnaise, usually made with eggs, which is another quickly perishable food and equally responsible for affecting the salad’s life.

How to store tuna salad?

Any dish made with meat and mayo should be appropriately stored and consumed, be it outside or inside the fridge. Tuna will spoil easily outside, and so it’s wise to consume it fully as soon as prepared or as soon as it can. You should seal the leftovers in an airtight container and place them inside the fridge for extended storage.

It’s essential to eat everything fresh and avoid all habits of storing in the refrigerator. You should never keep the salad longer and usually prepare it and eat it fresh. So that should save much trouble. But in case you happen to leave it longer, you need to understand if it’s possible to salvage it or throw it in the garbage bin. However, if there is some leftover and you have to keep it for later, you have to ensure it will last until you want to have it.

But USDA has the final word. The official recommendation that Tuna stored in the fridge for longer than 5 days should be thrown away. Food gets spoiled very easily and can get you poisoning in that case. It’s always wise to err on the side of caution. So do not leave the Tuna salad outside at all. If you have purchased a ready-to-eat Tuna salad, its label will have an Expiry or “Best Before” date mentioned.

Don’t freeze, refrigerate

You should always refrigerate your Salad and never freeze it. Once you prepare the salad, let it go straight into the fridge. You can always take it out in the form of small portions as per your needs. Also, Tuna salad will taste nice once it’s cold and preserve its ingredients’ natural taste. Ensure it’s stored in the fridge near the cold air vents so that it gets the maximum cooling.

Pathogens proliferate from 40-140F, which as per USDA, is the danger zone. It’s best to avoid this zone for all your foods. So if you keep the temperature of the salad below 40F in the fridge, it will not just last longer, but it manages to retain texture and freshness. In fact, you should set your fridge to maintain a temperature less than 40F at all times. It’s not advisable to freeze the Tuna salad. Freezing will spoil veggie greens’ texture, consistency, and the flavor of mayonnaise and other ingredients.

Photo by Godwin Angeline Benjo on Unsplash

How to identify the spoiled salad?

If the Tuna salad develops an off odor, usually rancid and terrible odor, you can be pretty sure it’s gone bad. So unless you have kept it in airtight containers, you will have a fridge that smells bad for months. A spoiled Tuna salad can also display off-color and a mold. We all know what a fresh salad looks like and it’s easy to know if the salad has gone bad.

Final word

Everyone loves a Tuna Salad. But if you want to enjoy all its benefits, ensure to keep it fresh. It’s best to eat all at once. Tuna salad will last longer if you prepare and store it properly. The more precautions you will take, the longer it will last. It won’t last more than 2 hours at room temperature and beyond 5 days in the fridge if stored properly. Any longer this timeline, and you should dispose of the contents in the waste bin.

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