The most popular long-term food storage methods include Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, and canned foods. While Mylar bags help you store bulk ingredients, such as pasta, rice, flour, and beans, canned foods give you access to easy-to-cook food items with higher moisture contents.

When it comes to canned goods, you should be aware that there is a major health risk associated with dented cans. 

So, should you never eat food from a can that has a dent, even if it’s small? Should you always toss any cans you have that get dented?

In this blog post, we will answer these crucial questions associated with canned food. But first, let’s understand how canned foods are prepared. 


What does canning entail?

Canned foods are simply food items packed in metal cans. Most canned foods are already cooked and ready to be eaten as soon as you open them, and they have a very long shelf life when they remain in the can.

This is because the metal cans are usually heated in a water bath to kill any bacteria, mold, and harmful microorganisms. The heating also deactivates enzymes that can cause spoilage of food and nutrient breakdown, which makes canned foods a great option for long-term food storage

dented can

What happens in a dented can? Is it safe to consume food from a dented can?

Small dents that affect the rim or seal of the can allow bacteria and mold to enter the can. This bacteria and/or mold can spoil the canned food item and put you at risk for botulism (AKA: food poisoning). 

If the dent has caused the inner coating to come out, an acidic food item can cause rust. This rust is also responsible for food poisoning. So, all in all, it is very unsafe to consume any food that comes from a dented can. 

But does that mean any dent can result in a serious health risk?

Dented food can

Well, according to USDA, it depends on how deep the dent is and where the dent is located. If the dent is deep enough for you to lay your finger in and has sharp ends, throw that can away immediately. If the dent is located on the seal or rim of the can, it puts you at an even more serious risk of food poisoning.

However, if a can has a minor dent somewhere away from the rim or seal, the canned food item can likely be used for consumption. In this case, you should make sure that you keep the can at room temperature and eat it as soon as possible. 

If you aren’t ready to eat the contents of the can now, or you are using canned goods to prep long-term, then toss the can. Any can with even a minor dent in not optimal for long-term food storage. 

To avoid this situation altogether, just make sure you check the cans for dents before buying them at the grocery store.

The Bottom Line

Canned food is a great addition to your long-term food storage plan, but you must be aware of the serious health risks posed by dented cans.

Dented food can

For more advice on long-term food storage, stay up to date on our blog! We are equally passionate about providing our customers with both education and high-quality Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers

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