Is Spam a Good Survival Food?


a can of spam

In the event of an emergency, it stands to reason that Spam might be a good survival food. I mean, we all know it’s unhealthy and should be eaten in moderation. However, when you’re fighting for your life in a SHTF moment, who cares about nutrition? All you will be worried about is calories, portability, and shelf-life. So how does spam rate as a survival food?

Due to the high concentration of fats and proteins Spam is an excellent option for survival food. It is readily available, cheap, and easy to store for long periods of time.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors to consider that make Spam a great food in terms of a survival situation.

What Is the Shelf Life of Spam?

If you examine the can of any canned meat product you will most often see a best if used by date and not an expiration date. This is due to the fact that most canned meat products don’t typically expire. Spam is no exception.

Hormel, the owner of the Spam brand, even had an official statement to that effect.

“The product is always safe to consume as long as the seal has remained intact, unbroken and securely attached. However, the flavor and freshness of the product gradually begin to decline after three years from the manufacturing date.”

http://hormel.com/FAQs

If the can is damaged or bloated, you might want to discard it. After the best by date, spam might lose some flavor and color but will remain edible.

How Do I Know If It Is Spoiled?

  1. The appearance of the can – The top of the can is domed or rounded instead of flat across which indicates that gases associated with spoilage have been at work. Dented cans warrant some extra caution too.
  2. The smell is bad – if the odor is unpleasant and not what is expected after opening the can you need to discard it. It’s not worth the risk at this point.
  3. There is mold present – the meat has spoiled if there is mold contamination. It is time to simply discard the contents.
  4. The flavor is wrong – if you taste the Spam and it tastes a bit off the product may have spoiled.

What Is the Best Spam for Long Term Storage?

Spam has an indefinite shelf life in terms of expiration. However, this is dependent upon the storage tactics and the integrity of the can so there are a couple of simple factors to consider for long term storage.

  1. Many modern canning solutions have easy to open cans where you can simply peel back the top to open the can. This is actually something that we want to avoid for long term storage since they are far more likely to have a break in the seal than a normal can.
  2. Any type of denting or damage that is present on a can is a minor risk that should be avoided when selecting cans of spam for long term storage. Minor breaches in the can integrity will drastically reduce the shelf life of the product.

Following those two basic guidelines can save you a lot of headaches by preventing spoilage so you don’t need to rotate or replace the spam portion your emergency food stockpiles frequently.

How to Store Spam Long Term

Spam is like any other canned food product and needs to be stored in a cool dry place. The main concern is humidity which can damage the can which will eventually become a problem, especially storing long term.

With an excess of humidity, it is possible to need to contend with rust on the can which will reduce the integrity of the can and eventually expose its contents and cause spoilage. As long as you keep it dry, it should last for many years.

There have been reports of people eating Spam cans from 1997 that were still edible, and even some reports of 50-year-old cans that were still edible although they most likely lost some flavor, color, and nutrition.

How Much Spam Should I Store for a Year?

If you are a serious prepper and you want to make sure that you are highly prepared for a serious event that will knock out food availability spam definitely has a place in your emergency stockpile.

Take a look at the nutritional facts below to get an idea of the macronutrient powerhouse of a simple can of Spam.

1 can of Spam (340 grams or 12 ounces) contains:

  • 1044 calories
  • 42 grams of protein
  • 13 grams of carbs
  • 90 grams of fat
  • 4800 mg of sodium
  • 42 % of the daily recommended intake of Zinc
  • 24 % of the daily recommended intake of potassium
  • 18 % of the daily recommended intake of Iron and Copper

Given those nutrients, it would be reasonable to simply store one can per person per day and meet a large number of your basic dietary requirements for as long as your stockpile is planned to last. This would need to be supplemented by other food sources as well.

If you plan to have it be a sole source of nutrition you can make a simple adjustment to storing two cans per person per day in your stockpile.

Spam lasts practically forever so it isn’t a bad thing to have some extra Spam in your storage even if you are not a hardcore prepper. It is actually a simple solution to basic preparedness and as a bonus, you can easily use it for camping trips and long hikes.

How Long Can a Person Survive on Spam Alone?

Spam is very high in fat, protein, sodium and is generally packed with calories. It has all those important macronutrients and even has some of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs, but it is not a complete food.

Spam is not capable of standing alone nutritionally, but you are not likely to run into issues if you start supplementing with other sources of foods before about 4 weeks, especially if said foods are fruits and vegetables of some variety. It is necessary to include these fruits and vegetables to provide your body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Another factor to consider is the inclusion of preservatives such as sodium nitrite which is present in all cans of Spam. This ingredient helps to maintain color and blocks bacterial growth that causes spoilage. However these preservatives also eventually lead to cell damage and can morph into molecules that can cause cancer.

Surviving on spam alone may be possible, but can deteriorate your health and should be supplemented with other foods as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

Spam is definitely a top prepper food. It has an indefinite shelf life when properly stored and it is rich in fat, protein, and sodium.

It’s affordability and widespread availability is undeniable and with over a million cans being consumed on an annual basis it is obvious that this food is tasty to many people.

Instead of storing Spam, I recommend that you stick to staples like rice and beans. Here is a guide I wrote on storing rice and beans for the long term. Be sure to check it out.

Also, if you are in the market for pre-packaged long term survival food I recommend My Patriot Supply. They have some of the best prices and best tasting food available for those getting prepared.

Related Questions

What exactly is Spam? Spam is a canned meat product made popular in the second world war. Over 1.22 million cans are sold annually totaling to about 915,000 lbs of meat products.

What do the letters in SPAM stand for? Spam is a derivative of the words spiced and ham. During and after WWII people in the UK sometimes referred to it as Special Processed American Meat as a joke.

Why is spam so popular in Hawaii? Soldiers stationed in Hawaii were given to squads due to the long shelf life and lack of refrigeration required. Eventually, it ended up in the hands of natives and ended up being integrated into their diets throughout the Pacific.

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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