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Food Handling Lesson Polls Poll based lessons. See what misconceptions our general population has regarding food safety and preparation.


View Poll Results: Are dented cans okay to use?
Yes 16 53.33%
No 11 36.67%
Not sure 3 10.00%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 05-18-2006, 01:59 AM   #1
bbqjoe
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Default Dented cans

Dented cans. Occasionally we come across dented cans. Some places even specialize in them offering them at low prices.

I'm not talking about leaking cans.

The question is this: Are dented cans okay to use?
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The answer here is no.
A dented can can bring on a good case of botulism, or possibly somthing else other than an "off" taste.
Maybe only one in a thousand dented cans becomes poisonous. But remember, very rarley are you going to be able to detect it such as Chef described.
Chances are good that you have a chioce. You're right there at the grocery store. Put back that dented one and get a good one. Or send that bent can back to your supplier. You don't have to accept it.

If you are in the food biz and the health inspector sees a shelf full of dented cans it might not be pretty for you.

So, if only say, one in a thousand is bad, is it really worth the risk to save fifty cents.

It's like playing with a loaded gun.

Last edited by bbqjoe; 05-19-2006 at 10:22 AM..
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Unread 05-18-2006, 05:57 AM   #2
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When my wife and I owned a restaurant back in the late 90s we had a local health inspectator who looked for dented cans in our inventory. He said they were not allowed in a restaurant because of the remote possibility that the seal could be ruptured resulting in spoiled food or even illness. He said it would be a local (county) health dept. infraction with a point deduction on your inspection and could therefore lead to loss of license. Whenever I found a dented can I always returned it to the store or distributor and they never questioned it. At home it's a different story. There I just look to see if it's ruptured or not and make the judgement call.

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Unread 05-18-2006, 07:43 AM   #3
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I think dented and opened cans are obviously not to be used, but I think I heard something about inner can linings being cracked and exposing the contents... Could be a wive's tale.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 08:49 AM   #4
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I've always heard that dented cans may breed botulism. It has something to do with the pressure, I think. I'm not sure how that works, actually. In every grocery store I've ever worked at, if a can was dented it was not put on the shelf.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 09:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlin_MacRae
I think dented and opened cans are obviously not to be used, but I think I heard something about inner can linings being cracked and exposing the contents... Could be a wive's tale.
I'm guessing with Arlin here

Seems like a dent has a good chance of compromising the inside of the can and allowing cooties to grow.

But...?

Great thread.

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Unread 05-18-2006, 10:42 AM   #6
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Restaurant depot ALWAYS selss their dented cans as managers specials.. or on $1.00 racks. I steer away.


i kind of remember an outbreak of botuilism being traced to dented cans of mushrooms. This was 20-30 years ago.

Also, fairly recently, i had a dented can of chicken broth. Small dent on the side, no crease, did not look like much. The can was dated for 2008. When opened the broth smelled a little "off".. i dumped it and checked inside the can and where the dent was was the can liner was compromised and there was a visable reaction taking place at the site of the break. Even though no crease was present, there was still something going on. NO more dented cans for me.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 11:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQchef33
Also, fairly recently, i had a dented can of chicken broth. Small dent on the side, no crease, did not look like much. The can was dated for 2008. When opened the broth smelled a little "off".. i dumped it and checked inside the can and where the dent was was the can liner was compromised and there was a visable reaction taking place at the site of the break. Even though no crease was present, there was still something going on. NO more dented cans for me.
Thanks, Phil - that's exactly why I shy away from dented cans!
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Unread 05-18-2006, 04:13 PM   #8
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If dented cans weren't allowed, why would "depot" sell them. Wouldn't their liability go through the roof??? Scott

I vote, safe.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 08:35 PM   #9
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No clue.. but the dented shelves are always full of stuf.. some extremely damage.. Ive seen number 10 cans that were nearly bent in half.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 09:12 PM   #10
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Nelson's surplus in KC used to sell all kinds of dented cans..... and fire sale stuff -- literally! You could wipe the soot off of the boxes/cans... Scary stuff. But they stayed in business for at least 30 years. They had a frozen foods section too YIKES.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 10:08 PM   #11
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I presently work in a canning/labeling factory. Yah, it sucks, but it's a tween job to pay the piper since my old boss decided to stay drunk and hide out in the islands with his bar bride. We have meetings weekly on dented cans. Yes a dent does indeed indicate a possible breech of the can's inner lining. We study this chit to no end. Once the inner lining is breeched you have a situation of the can's contents in direct contact with steel. Yup, just simple steel. The contents, almost always include water, brine of water, salt, sugar, etc. Steel and these substances do not play well together. Our rule is "If it's not a perfect can, it's trash". This company's trash bill is $12,000 per month, if that indicates the volume of what we toss.

As an aside, the slightly dented cans are offered for employee sale at an incredibly low price (about $3.00 per case). I buy none.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 10:55 PM   #12
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kevin.. Great input!! Thanks for confirming that.. An age old question to me.
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Unread 05-18-2006, 11:18 PM   #13
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Interesting stuff, Kevin! Thanks! I had always heard that there was a can lining that they USED to use but quit and that these days, dented cans ARE safe... so that's how I voted. But after reading your info, I'll also stteer clear of dented cans. Thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin
I presently work in a canning/labeling factory. Yah, it sucks, but it's a tween job to pay the piper since my old boss decided to stay drunk and hide out in the islands with his bar bride. We have meetings weekly on dented cans. Yes a dent does indeed indicate a possible breech of the can's inner lining. We study this chit to no end. Once the inner lining is breeched you have a situation of the can's contents in direct contact with steel. Yup, just simple steel. The contents, almost always include water, brine of water, salt, sugar, etc. Steel and these substances do not play well together. Our rule is "If it's not a perfect can, it's trash". This company's trash bill is $12,000 per month, if that indicates the volume of what we toss.

As an aside, the slightly dented cans are offered for employee sale at an incredibly low price (about $3.00 per case). I buy none.
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Unread 05-20-2006, 01:16 AM   #14
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Awesome confirmation Kevin! Thanks.
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Unread 05-20-2006, 06:54 AM   #15
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Thanks all.. I really learned something on this one, I never imagined a simple dent (not bulge) could lead you down a rocky road
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