Let's Talk Food Safety...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Do you see anything wrong in the following picture?

No? How about now...?

Still not? Try this one...

See those bulges? NOT GOOD!!! This can shows signs of possible botulism poisoning. The toxin produced by the bacteria growing inside can be deadly, even at very small amounts. NEVER OPEN A BULGING CAN - EVER! Not even to peek inside - it isn't safe.

From the USDA's Food Safey and Inspection Services website:

"Store canned foods and other shelf stable products in a cool, dry place. Never put them above the stove, under the sink, in a damp garage or basement, or any place exposed to high or low temperature extremes. Store high acid foods such as tomatoes and other fruit up to 18 months; low acid foods such as meat and vegetables, 2 to 5 years.

"Canned meat and poultry will keep at best quality 2 to 5 years if the can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, dry place.

"While extremely rare, a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum is the worst danger in canned goods. NEVER USE food from containers that show possible "botulism" warnings: leaking, bulging, or badly dented cans; cracked jars or jars with loose or bulging lids; canned food with a foul odor; or any container that spurts liquid when opening. DON'T TASTE SUCH FOOD! Even a minuscule amount of botulinum toxin can be deadly."

The can in the pictures above was in my pantry - probably been sitting there for quite a few years in the dark corners where I can never reach. See why it's important to rotate your food storage? (Which I obviously haven't been doing as well as I should, as evidenced by the bulging can above.) The scary thing is, though, that it wasn't the only one I found...just tonight I pulled out a can of sweetened condensed milk that wasn't quite so "condensed" anymore - two bulging cans in one week! :(

If you have a weak stomach, you'll definitely want to skip tomorrow's post on another interesting find from tonight's pantry cleaning...YUCK!