How long does tuna last in the refrigerator?

How long does tuna last in the refrigerator?


Tuna is a popular seafood choice for many people due to its rich flavor and versatility in various dishes. However, like any perishable food, it is essential to know how long tuna can last in the refrigerator to ensure its freshness and safety for consumption. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the shelf life of tuna in the refrigerator and provide guidelines on how to store it properly.

Factors Affecting the Shelf Life of Tuna

Type of Tuna: The type of tuna you have can impact its shelf life. Fresh tuna, whether whole or filleted, generally has a shorter shelf life compared to canned tuna. Fresh tuna should be consumed within two to three days of purchase, while canned tuna can last much longer.

Storage Temperature: The temperature at which you store your tuna plays a crucial role in its shelf life. Tuna should be kept at a refrigerator temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below to slow down bacterial growth and maintain its quality. It is important to note that the refrigerator temperature should be monitored regularly to ensure it stays within the safe range.

Quality of Tuna: The freshness and quality of the tuna when purchased also affect its shelf life. Tuna that is already nearing its expiration date or has been mishandled may spoil more quickly, even when stored properly.

How Long Does Tuna Last in the Refrigerator?

As mentioned earlier, the shelf life of tuna depends on various factors. Here are some general guidelines for different types of tuna:

Fresh Tuna: When properly stored in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C), fresh tuna can last for about two to three days. It is best to consume it as soon as possible for optimal taste and quality. If you are unable to use it within this timeframe, you can freeze fresh tuna to extend its shelf life.

Canned Tuna: Canned tuna has a significantly longer shelf life compared to fresh tuna. Unopened cans of tuna can last for one to two years when stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned tuna should be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated. It can last for up to three to four days in the refrigerator.

Tips for Properly Storing Tuna

To maximize the shelf life and maintain the quality of tuna in the refrigerator, consider the following tips:

Proper Packaging: If you have fresh tuna, ensure it is properly wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container to prevent exposure to air and moisture. This helps to slow down the oxidation process and maintain its freshness.

Labeling and Rotation: If you have multiple packages of tuna, it is helpful to label them with the date of purchase. This allows you to keep track of their freshness and use them in a first-in, first-out manner to avoid wastage.

Safe Handling: Always practice proper food handling and hygiene when dealing with tuna. Wash your hands before and after handling tuna, and avoid cross-contamination with other foods.


In conclusion, the shelf life of tuna in the refrigerator depends on factors such as the type of tuna, storage temperature, and its initial quality. Fresh tuna can last for two to three days when stored properly, while canned tuna can last for much longer. It is crucial to follow proper storage guidelines and ensure the refrigerator temperature is within the safe range to maintain the freshness and safety of tuna.


– United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
– National Fisheries Institute: