4 Ways How To Tell If A Dented Can Is Safe

September 22, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin

how-to-tell-if-a-dented-can-is-safe
This dented can is likely unsafe (dented seams)

Some dented cans of food are unsafe and should be discarded, but you may be surprised to discover that most are perfectly safe.

Here’s how to tell if a dented can of food is safe to use…


 
By knowing how to tell the difference between a safe and unsafe dented can of food will eliminate unnecessary waste and can even save you money by purchasing these cans on sale for a fraction of the price.

There are four simple ways or guidelines to determine whether a can is safe to eat or whether the can is better off tossed in to the trash…

 

Push On The Top And Bottom Of Can

If the top or bottom of the can moves or makes a popping sound, the can’s seal has been broken and air has made its way inside. Popped cans should be thrown out. On the other hand, if the can does not make a noise or move, it is most likely safe to eat despite any dents.

Bulging And Bloated Can

If the can is bulging and bloated, it is not safe. Cans will bulge and bloat when bacteria begins to produce gasses which push the can outward.

Rusted Can

Rust can weaken the integrity of the can and allow air and bacteria to enter it, particularly if the rust does not simply brush off.

When You Open It With A Can Opener

When you open the can and once you puncture it with your can opener, it should not spray or explode. If it does spray or explode, do not eat the food because it may be contaminated. Safe dented cans will open the same as non dented cans.

 
————————-
Notes:

Particularly avoid buying cans that are dented on the top or bottom, near or at the seams. This is where it is weakest – where the main seams of the can are located.

If the can is dented along the side it is most likely safe to eat the food inside, given the checks listed above.

When a can has become dented… the dent, crease, or dimple has weakened the can at that spot – especially a sharp dent. Further metal stress over time may cause the can to leak, so for this reason it is advisable to consume the food within dented cans first…given the checks above.

Foods that have abnormal odors should not be eaten.

…when in doubt, throw it out.

Information gathered from sources including grocery store owners and USDA inpsectors.

 
Use-by and Sell-by Dates