How Long Can Tuna Sit Out? [Safety & Proper Storage]

Tuna is a versatile ingredient that can be utilized in many ways. You may eat it as a sandwich or salad topping, with pasta as a main course, as an appetizer on crackers, or even with spices and herbs for a new flavor. How long can tuna sit out depends on a few factors, including the type of tuna, the quality of the tuna, and the temperature of the storage environment. On average, it can sit out for up to 24 hours without losing too much quality.

how long can tuna sit out

Whether it’s canned, fresh, or frozen, tuna is nutritious and an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other micronutrients.

With that said, like with most foods, there are some considerations to consider when storing and consuming tuna.

Before moving on to the tips below, let’s look at How Long Can Tuna Sit Out in the fridge, depending on the type and cut. 

Tuna can last in the fridge for 1-2 days.

It can store up to the best use date if you have canned. It would help if you stored canned fish at room temperature or in the refrigerator, where it should be kept covered and cold. Once you open your canned tuna, you must fridge it immediately. After opening, it can be held in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. You can keep frozen canned tuna for up to three to four months.

You can keep fresh tuna in the refrigerator for one to two days without incident. but if you want to store them for a long time, it’s always a good idea to store them in the freezer for 2 to 3 months without any issue

What is tuna, and where does it come from

how long can tuna sit out

Tuna is found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. 

It has rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals such as selenium. Tuna is a popular choice for seafood lovers because it is a versatile fish used in many dishes.

It has a mild, delicate flavor that goes well with various foods, including sandwiches, salads, casseroles, curries, pasta dishes, and tacos. Tuna is also a great source of vitamin D and has long been considered an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. It is low in calories and fat yet high in protein. This makes it a good choice for both weight loss and maintenance diets.

The nutritional value of tuna

A healthy muscle structure requires substantial amounts of protein. Tuna provides this in adequate amounts. According to the USDA, it has a moderate content of vitamin B12 and is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, it has a significant amount of niacin, supporting healthy skin and hair. One serving contains about 15 grams of protein and about 25 milligrams of niacin. While tuna does provide a significant amount of protein per serving, it also contains large amounts of fat. A 3-ounce serving of canned tuna has approximately 36 grams of fat, including 17 grams of fat from saturated fats. As a result, choosing seafood for your diet is essential to choose fish with less saturated fat (and more omega-3 fatty acids).

how long can tuna sit out

How long can tuna sit out

However, because its spoils very quickly, it’s essential to know how to store it properly to stay fresh for as long as possible. Here are some storage tips!

How long does tuna last in the fridge

It may become soft and mushy at room temperature for too long. It is important to keep the fish in an airtight container that keeps out light and moisture so that it does not become rancid.

Seal it in an airtight container in a refrigerator. To prevent the fish from hardening and to become too dry, keep it wrapped tightly in plastic or a sealed container when refrigerated. Can keep up to 2-3 days. 

Always store on a clean surface, away from odors and moisture. It should be stored away from other seafood because it may absorb flavors from other seafood. It should also not be kept near raw meat because it may absorb bacteria from the meat. 

How long does tuna last in the freezer 

Tuna is an excellent source of protein, but it’s essential to know how to store it properly so that it lasts and doesn’t go bad. If you’re going to freeze tuna, it will last about 3-4 months. It’s important to protect against freezer burn by tightly wrapping the item in plastic wrap or putting it in a tightly sealed container.

How long does tuna last At room temperature

The bacteria that causes botulism can grow at room temperature, so if you take your tuna out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for 2 hrs, you run the risk of botulism poisoning. So don’t go out of the refrigerator for long.

Signs That Tuna Has Gone Bad

how long can tuna sit out

Knowing that your fish has gone bad is always a good idea. 

Several signs indicate that your fish has gone bad. These include changes in color, smell, consistency, and taste. The chances are that if any of these things are off, your fish is not good to eat.

Look at the expiration date on the package. If the date has passed, it’s probably time to throw it away. 

Mercury can accumulate in fish over time and cause significant health issues, and some brands of tuna have been discovered to contain high levels of mercury.

Other toxins are also present in some types of fish, including dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Toxic chemicals like these can accumulate in the body over time and affect your ability to function normally.

 Why does tuna fish spoil so soon?

Fresh tuna spoils quickly because it is one of the few fresh proteins containing much water. As the protein breaks down, so does the water, which results in spoilage and a bad smell.

There are several reasons why its spoils quickly:

1. It contains much water and is therefore challenging to dry. So it makes it hard to preserve.

2. It also contains an enzyme that breaks down proteins called cathepsin E and trypsin. It also leads to spoilage and a bad smell. 

3. It has 1/10th of the fat content of other fish such as salmon, making it more susceptible to spoilage and bacteria growth. 

4. Water-borne bacteria such as Aeromonas hydrophila and Vibrio cholera are common in tuna, leading to bad smells, off-flavors, and illness if consumed.

So how long does tuna last in the fridge

 It is best when fresh, but it can last for a few days out of the fridge if properly stored. You can keep it fresh in the refrigerator for about two to three days or freeze it after keeping it at room temperature for up to two hours. As long as the tuna remains frozen solid, you can store it in the freezer for up to six months. 

How can I tell if my tuna is fresh?

You can tell if your tuna is fresh by checking the condition of the meat. Fresh tuna will be vibrant in color, with a firm texture and plump shape. It should have a mild scent and taste, with no signs of rancidity or spoilage. 

The most reliable way to tell if tuna is fresh is to check the date printed on the can or package. 

If you follow these simple storage and use guidelines, you can enjoy delicious, healthy tuna with peace of mind.

 Thawing Frozen Tuna Safely

how long can tuna sit out

When thawing frozen fish, you must do so safely: melting it at room temperature can lead to bacterial growth, and you don’t want to serve guests or family members with foodborne illnesses. 

It’s best to refrigerate it 24 hours before serving or cooking it. If you need to melt it quickly, put it in a regular water bowl. Every 30 minutes, change the water and leave the fish in it until it is thawed.

Never put wet fish in the microwave – this will damage the outer coating and cause the sushi rice to harden. 

How to Prepare Tuna Safely

It’s one of the most popular fish among Americans. According to an article published in National Geographic, about 17 billion cans are produced each year, and it’s a staple in the diets of many Americans. The problem is that mercury levels can be high, and some people have concerns over how long can tuna sit out safe it is to eat.  

It’s good to know that there are ways to decrease your tuna-related health problems: following a few simple guidelines when cooking it. Following these simple tips can make you enjoy dinner safely and often without cutting it out of your diet entirely.

  • When cooking on the stovetop, heat the oil for about 30 seconds before adding the fish so that it doesn’t boil over. 
  • Cook it until it reaches at least 145(°F) internally.
  • Use a sushi mat to help prevent cross-contamination between pieces of raw fish and other foods. 

Final word 

Many of us choose to eat tuna as a protein-rich meal. Omega-3 fatty acids are present and are suitable for you. In reality, most of us are unfamiliar with the appropriate storage procedures. Here I try to answer the queries, How Long Can Tuna Sit Out? 

Tuna might seem like healthy food, but it has many health risks. If you choose to eat it, be sure to choose a variety that has been certified safe by the FDA and responsibly sourced. It is one of the foods you might be tempted to eat when feeling down.