I am particularly interested in the histamine's creation in a can because I need to deal with allergies. Possible Factors to me which affects to histamine's creation that is the speed of the fermentation process in a can:

  • temperature
  • humidity
  • concentration of salt in the liquid

Histamine is created as a result of fermentation so can-food has significant amounts of histamine compared to non-can-food. Assume we have food in a can. It ferments all the time little although it is in a salt liquid. Consequently, little amounts of histamine is created to the food. However, I am not sure how significant is the given factor compared to iron oxides, for instance.

My intuition suggests that to decrease the amount of histamine in a can-food, slow down the fermentation process that is keep the can in cold temperature at dry-air and select cans that have high salt amounts.

Some people keep cans in the refrigerator, I do not. I have noted that the can gets roasted a lot faster in old refrigerators without any humidity control. What is the ideal humidity and temperature to store food in cans to minimize the amount of histamine's creation? How much should the fermentation process slowed down?

  • What kind of food are you talking about? Fermentation can also produce alcohol. Oct 29, 2011 at 2:31

1 Answer 1



Given that I'm a severe allergy and migraine sufferer, I was surprised by your assertion that canned foods in general contain large amounts of histamine. As far as I can find from internet search, they do not. The canned/jarred foods which specifically have been measured to contain histamine are:

  • canned fish, especially tuna
  • canned tomatoes
  • fermented vegetables, especially saurkraut
  • fermented soy products, especially soy sauce and tofu
  • red wine and red wine vinegar (and anything pickled in wine vinegar)

The answer is simply: don't eat the above if your sensitive to histamine. You can avoid them. Also, the histamine in the above foods already exists in the can or jar before you buy them, and will not be reduced using salt or chilling.

I am quite puzzled by the inclusion of canned tomatoes on that list, but several sites reference it.

Part of your confusion is clear with this statement:

Histamine is created as a result of fermentation so can-food has significant amounts of histamine compared to non-can-food. Assume we have food in a can. It ferments all the time little although it is in a salt liquid.

Um, actually, no. If your can of corn is fermenting, it's bad. Throw it away before the can explodes. Canned and jarred fermented foods are fermented before they are put in the can or jar. Cans of non-fermented foods are not going to ferment on you; they are heat-treated to destroy all microorganisms which would cause fermenting.

Further, histamine is only created as the by-product of the fermentation of certain proteins or fibers, so not even all fermented foods have it. There is a larger list, though, of foods which stimulate histamine production than which contain histamines.

References on which I base the above statements:

One thing which is interesting and irritating is that while there have been numerous studies showing that canned fish can contain deadly levels of histamine (because of the decomposition of the fish before canning), several nutritional information sources have apparently taken to restricting all canned foods "to be safe", presumably since they don't think their readers can differentiate between tuna and green beans. This is presumably the source of Masi's confusion. I spent some time searching for any studies indicating the presence of histamines in canned vegetables or fruits, with no results.

If an actual nutritionist or biochemist is reading this question (I am neither), please add to what I have above or correct me. Thanks!

  • One physician told me that all canned foods contain histamine much more than not canned food. It is possible that he simplified the claim because he think that patients cannot differentiate between things which contain much-histamine and things which contain very-little-histamine. I am not sure whether there is any food in a can that contain no histamine. - Thank you for the links! Need to read them now. Oct 30, 2011 at 8:32
  • "Aged and fermented foods are naturally high in histamine - -." Does it mean that any food that has been long time in a can contain histamine? It may be the case. Assume the zinc layer is little bit broken and there is the Daniel cell such that iron oxides get to the food. Does it increase the amount of histamine in the food? Oct 30, 2011 at 8:35

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