The Problem With Dented Cans

Dented Can

I remember hearing that you shouldn’t use dented cans when I was younger. I don’t recall hearing why, but have pretty much avoided buying them. I received a box that included some cans this week. Unfortunately, a couple of those cans had gotten damaged in shipment and arrived dented. I don’t mean small dents, like the ones that happen when you accidentally drop a can while putting groceries away. I mean big dents. I decided to try and do some research on dented cans.

According to the USDA, if you’ve stored cans in a cool, dry place they can safely be stored from anywhere from 18 months (fruit)  all the way up to 2 to 5 years (meat and vegetables). that’s actually good information to keep in mind when planning emergency food storage as part of emergency preparedness. The article continued to explain that canned goods tainted with botulism often show signs including leaking, bulging and bad dents. Another article that I found on the Penn State site further explained that dents in cans put stress on the seal, causing the can to leak and allowing germs to get into the can.

Another type of survival food is freeze dried food. I don’t know much on the subject except for the basic principe, that if you remove the moisture from a food and seal it so moisture can’t get back in then the food can be stored for years without refrigeration and danger of spoilage.

I do not generally have an emergency food supply. If a severe storm is coming I’ll stock on whatever we’ll need to get through it. Do you have an emergency food supply?

About the Author

I’m a Jersey girl, I was born and raised here and have lived here for almost my entire life. I’m a mom of 2 boys – TJ, a 21 year old, and CJ, an 18 year old with Down Syndrome. I am the oldest of four children. I am also a social media enthusiast, cat person, and Down syndrome advocate. I love coffee and milkshakes. My favorite dessert is cheesecake. I love rock music, tech, travel and food. And cheesecake. I HATE the misuse of the word retarded. I take it personally and find it very offensive. Did I mention that I love cheesecake?

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  1. this is interesting, i’ve heard that you shouldn’t buy/use dented cans, but i never knew why!

    as for an emergency food supply, no we don’t have one. We do have extra canned foods in our pantry, but it isn’t exactly an “emergency” supply.

  2. I had no idea you could store cans of veggies and meat for 2 to 5 years. Thanks for the information. I don’t buy or use dented cans b/c of the botulism possibility that I did know about.

  3. Dented cans that seem bloated are a definite no-no. Over my lifetime I was paid first 20 times year then 24m bow 12 so I got used to buying for a month, I kept my freezer and panty shelves stocked. I try now to go out every week and top it off with sale and coupon items. Granted milk and bread is not a can do.

  4. Well I guess I’m pretty bad because I buy dented cans all the time. We have a bent and dent Amish store that sells food that is about to expire, has expired or the box is broken or dented. We save soooo much money. I do watch to make sure the containers are sealed and where the dent is actually located. Have never had a problem in the 3 years that I shopped there.

  5. The reason why you should never buy dented cans is that the seal on the can could have been damaged and bacteria could have entered the can. I am quite sure that the expiration date is just more of reference. Canned foods can last a bit longer on the shelves than the date, but be especially careful if you notice a bit of bloat. Throw it out immediately–it is bad. Botulism is nothing to laugh at and can kill.

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