Canned foods are a blessing in disguise. Not only can canned foods be as nutritious as fresh food, but they’re also delicious. And the best part? Canned foods can last for a really, really long time. You can buy one can of food today, and you don’t have to worry about it.
However, that raises the big question: How do you know if your canned food went bad? Well, there are a few ways you can find out. And yes, the expiration date is one of them, but that doesn’t mean the food can’t go bad before it expires. Here are some ways you can find out your canned food is spoiled.
8. There Are Bulges on the Can
The bulging of the can’s lid is a sign that the food is spoiled. However, sometimes you might not see a bulge at first glance.
If you want to check for bulges, gently press the lid, and you will feel a lump or a bump, showing that the food isn’t good to eat anymore.
Cans get bulges because of the over-accumulation of toxic gases inside them. This usually happens because of the presence of bacteria or other germs. Thus, a bulge on a can is an easy and fast way to find out the content inside is spoiled.
7. Check the Expiration Date
As we mentioned before, the expiration date is an easy way to find out if you can eat your canned food or not. However, in the case of canned food, the expiration date isn’t necessarily the final verdict. It just shows that the food might start to decay after this time. That being said, if the food has been expired for a few months now, it’s best that you don’t eat the food.
6. You Hear a Loud Hissing When You Open the Can
Some canned items make an effervescent sound when opened, but most canned foods don’t produce any noticeable sounds. You should be alert if you hear any loud hissing while opening any can of food.
Before tossing the can away, keep in mind that some food items are vacuum packed, and the hiss is likely due to air pressure. But if the hiss is loud and the can’s content spurt out, the food is unsafe to eat.
These sounds can be produced by a toxin like Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism. This is a severe illness causing the paralysis of respiratory muscles and even can result in death.
5. You See Corrosion
You should instantly get rid of your canned food if you spot small rusty patches or holes on it.
Corrosion is caused when the cans aren’t handled properly and stored in either moisturized zones or places with fluctuating temperatures.
Rusted food cans are harmful in two possible ways. First, the rust can produce chemicals like Bisphenol A, or BPA, making the food toxic. Second, rust compromises the can material and makes tiny holes, providing a path for bacteria to invade the food and making it unhealthy and dangerous for you to eat.
4. You See a Dent or Leak in the Can
Dented canned food is not suitable for you to consume. Not only will dents compromise the seal, but they can also damage the protective layer inside, which prevents the direct contact of food with the metallic can.
There is a protective layer inside the can to prevent the direct content of food with the can. If the can is dented, then the layer is broken, and the food can come in direct contact with metal.
Dents cause the rapid shift of air pressure inside the can, weakening the container’s protective seal, and it may allow the bacteria to invade the food and make it unhealthy. Plus, as we mentioned before, this can end up causing rust and other chemicals to invade your food.
Likewise, If you find any leakage on the can, get rid of it straight away. It means there’s some breakage in the sealed environment of the can, providing a way for microbes to enter the can and make it poisonous.
3. You See Mold
If there is mold on or inside the can, there is no option but to get rid of the canned food.
In case you didn’t know, any type of mold is fungi. Fungi can survive at very high temperatures. It can also survive in places with a high pH. If you see mold in any canned food, either on the outside or the inside, it means that the food was not properly canned.
It’s probably a no-brainer, but we still highly recommend that you don’t eat food with mold. Eating moldy food can cause vomiting, diarrhea, acute liver disease, and death in the most severe cases.
Also, it’s not recommended just to scrape off the moldy part from the food and use the remainder because the mold growth has indicated the mishandling of food, and the toxicity might be present in the whole thing. TL DR: Never eat moldy food!
2. The Food Is Discolored
The canned food should always be of the same color when packed and when you eat it. If the food color changes, it implies the contamination of food with metal, chemicals, or bacteria.
For liquids, if the color appears cloudy instead of clear—or actual color— you shouldn’t try to ingest it either. This discoloration can also be the indication of the presence of botulinum toxin, which causes botulism.
1. The Food Smells Bad
Thank you, evolution, for giving us the ability to smell bad things. Sure it’s gross, but it can save your life in many ways, including before you eat canned food.
The presence of an unpleasant odor is a clear indication that the food is spoiled and shouldn’t be ingested. The odor in the food changes only when it’s spoiled, either by microbes or chemicals.