How long does tuna fish last in the refrigerator?

How long does tuna fish last in the refrigerator?


Tuna fish is a popular seafood choice for many people due to its delicious taste and versatility in various dishes. However, like any perishable food, it is essential to store tuna properly to ensure its freshness and prevent any foodborne illnesses. One common question that arises is, “How long does tuna fish last in the refrigerator?” In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the shelf life of tuna fish and provide guidelines for storing it safely.

Factors Affecting Shelf Life

Several factors influence how long tuna fish can last in the refrigerator. These factors include the freshness of the fish when purchased, the storage temperature, and the packaging method.

Freshness: The freshness of the tuna fish at the time of purchase plays a significant role in determining its shelf life. If you buy fresh tuna from a reputable source, it will generally last longer compared to fish that has been sitting in the store for an extended period.

Storage Temperature: Tuna fish should be stored at a temperature below 40°F (4°C) to slow down bacterial growth and maintain its quality. It is crucial to keep the refrigerator temperature consistent and avoid temperature fluctuations, as they can accelerate spoilage.

Packaging: Proper packaging is essential to extend the shelf life of tuna fish. If you purchase tuna from a fish market or grocery store, it is often packed in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags. These packaging methods help preserve the freshness and prevent contamination.

Shelf Life of Tuna Fish

The shelf life of tuna fish in the refrigerator can vary depending on the factors mentioned above. On average, fresh tuna fish can last for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator when stored properly. However, it is essential to note that this is just a general guideline, and the actual shelf life may differ based on the freshness and storage conditions.

Canned tuna, on the other hand, can last much longer. Unopened cans of tuna can be safely stored in the pantry for up to 3 years, provided they are stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Once opened, canned tuna should be refrigerated and consumed within 3 to 4 days.

Signs of Spoilage

It is crucial to be able to identify signs of spoilage in tuna fish to avoid consuming it when it is no longer safe to eat. Here are some common signs of spoiled tuna:

1. Foul odor: If the tuna fish has a strong, unpleasant smell, it is an indication that it has gone bad.

2. Slimy texture: Fresh tuna should have a firm texture. If it feels slimy or sticky to the touch, it is a sign of spoilage.

3. Discoloration: Tuna fish that has turned brown or gray is no longer fresh and should be discarded.

4. Mold or unusual growth: Any signs of mold or unusual growth on the tuna fish indicate spoilage and should not be consumed.

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard the tuna fish.


In conclusion, the shelf life of tuna fish in the refrigerator depends on various factors such as freshness, storage temperature, and packaging. Fresh tuna can last for 1 to 2 days when stored properly, while canned tuna has a much longer shelf life. It is crucial to be able to identify signs of spoilage and discard any tuna fish that has gone bad. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy fresh and safe tuna fish in your meals.


– National Fisheries Institute:
– United States Department of Agriculture: