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Canned Food Safety 101


February is Canned Foods Month. We’ve talked on the blog before about the importance of having emergency food, especially during winter storms and blackouts. Canned foods seem to fit that bill perfectly since they can be opened with a manual can opener and, depending on the food inside, may not need to be warmed up. It’s easy to collect some cans in your basement and call it good, but how long do canned goods really last? Are you storing them correctly? Today on the blog we’re going to take an in-depth look at canned foods.  




Things to Watch Out For 

  • Dents– if there’s a SMALL dent, the food is probably okay. A can with a deep dent (a dent you can fit a finger into) should be discarded.
  • Freezing– if a can is left somewhere cold and freezes, it may be salvageable if you can defrost it in the refrigerator. If the can has been frozen and thawed elsewhere, it is not safe to eat.  
  • Hissing– if a can hisses loudly when opened or bits of food come out when it is opened, it is not safe to eat.  
  • Leaking-  
  • Rust– this can create small holes for bacteria.  
  • Swelling/bulging– swollen cans may be swollen due to bacteria. Discard them immediately.  


Unsure whether something is safe to eat? You can call the USDA’s Information Hotline at (202) 720-2791. 

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