Recently, I received a request to write a toxicological post about canned fruit and its nutritional value. Unfortunately, I have not yet learned much about canned foods, but I do know one interesting toxic fact …
To Be Safe, Do Not Buy or Eat Contents From Dented Cans!
Here’s why …
Dented cans can provide residency for Colstridium botulinum, a bacteria that produces a toxin known as botulism. Although boltulism is rare, it is best to AVOID food containers that are leaking, bulging, badly dented, cracked, have loose or bulging lids, or have a foul odor. Even a small amount of botulinum toxin can be deadly!!!!!
So, pay attention! If you’re the type of person who shops in the 50%/”half off” section at grocery stores (introduced to me by my economist for a boyfriend), then check your cans often, that’s usually where you will find the dented ones. Once again, I DO NOT recommend buying these dented cans just because they are CHEAP–there is a reason they are so cheap and that reason is potentially unsafe.
On the positive side, as long as the can is in good shape, the food contents should be safe! But, canned food taste, texture, and nutritional value can decrease over time. So as a general guideline, be sure to store canned foods and other “shelf” products in a cool, dry place. Furthermore, if the can is in good shape, high acid foods such as tomatoes and other fruit should only be stored up to 18 months, while low acid foods such as meats and veggies can be stored 2 to 5 years.
However, if the can is NOT in good shape, please DISCARD! Botulism is more likely to grow in low acidic environments like canned peas, corn, green beans, and beets, but only if the can is deeply dented, leaking, bulging, cracked, etc.
click on the images for their sources
For more information please visit the USDA website @ http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Shelf_Stable_Food_Safety/index.asp