The shelf life of an unopened can of sardines that are packed in oil or sauce is 3 to 5 years. If canned goods are leaking or rusting they should be discarded and not consumed.
After the shelf life of an unopened can of sardines has passed, the taste of the product may decline. The recommended shelf times are listed for best quality.
The sardine is a small saltwater fish that belongs to the herring family. The sardine measures an average of 6 inches in length and prefers the cold water. This species of fish is found in large schools and is most commonly canned.