Someone sent me tuna in olive oil from a delicatessen shop via post in a box. When I received the package the safety button of the jar was off (you could squeeze it). Due to this I was hesitant to eat it but when I opened it there was no bad smell and put it in the fridge immediately.

My question is, assuming that it was kept in room temperature during transit for about 3-4 days with the safety button in the jar released is it safe to eat it ?

Does fish stay fresh in olive oil even in room temperature ?

It is a really expensive and tasty product and I just don't feel like throwing it away.

  • It's possible that the jar was hit on the edge during transit, which can break the seal. I don't know the details of the preservation, but I'm guessing for most people who have internet access, it's not worth getting sick over.
    – Joe
    Nov 15, 2015 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


No, it is not safe anymore.

The scombridae family of fish (mackerels, tunas, bonitos) decay in a way that does not necessarily cause a bad smell, as the bacteria just convert amino acids of the fish into a harmful version. The bacteria that does this is unfortunately facultative anaerobic, which means it prefers oxygen, but will do without, too.

So, the safety of the tuna can relies on the initial heating and keeping bacteria out with the airtight can, not so much on the oil.

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