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Why Small Dents Could Ruin Your Food Storage

by Shawn Barrington 02 Jan 2024

Is it safe to eat food from dented cans? 

We get a lot of questions from our customers that have gotten damaged cans and wonder if the food is still good to eat. But did you know you could be putting yourself at risk for food poisoning by eating food from those dented cans? When food is canned, it’s heated to destroy dangerous bacterias and molds and deactivates the enzymes which break down the nutrients of the food as it ages. Thus, canning the food prevents it from going bad and from being contaminated by mold and bacteria. We want to make sure that you are safe when it comes to food storage and you can learn more how we protect the food in the cans here!

Checking the Dent

Don't assume that all cans with dents are bad, it depends how the severe the dent is. Most of the minor dents that aren’t on the seam of the metal should be fine. But if there’s a deep dent on the seam, you’re better off leaving that can alone. The United States Department of Agriculture defines a deep dent as any dent which you can lay your finger into when checking the can. Bulging ends of the can means there is a leak in the can, and air has become trapped inside. A dirty label can also mean the can may have a leak, and excessive rust on the can that won't wipe off should not make its way into your grocery cart. While being very rare, some dented cans can lead to a deadly form of food poisoning(botulism) that can attack the nervous system. Leaking and bulging cans can also be signs of compromised canned food.

If you buy damaged food from a traditional grocery store and you have your original receipt, you should be able to return or exchange it if you discover it's spoiled after getting it home from the store. If you buy from a salvage grocery store, however, returns aren't allowed, so choose your food wisely. Remember, with any food, if you doubt the safety of it, throw it out. It's better to be safe than sorry.

*as always, if you ever get a dented can from us here at The Ready Store, please contact us and we can either replace the damaged item(s) or give you a full refund.*


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