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Old 10-10-2006, 08:09 PM   #1
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Canned Goods Questions

Is it safe to use canned goods past the "best if used by" date marked on the can? I just dumped some diced tomatoes into a slow cooker and didn't realize until after I added everything else, they were past the date. Sorry for such a dumb question...lol. Thanks !

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Old 10-10-2006, 08:26 PM   #2
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I've used several different veggies that were past the date. I always tasted and smelled them first, but, if you didn't get a smell from them, they should be okay. Just how old were they?
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:29 PM   #3
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February of this year....I smelled the inside of the can...smelled like diced tomatoes...lol
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:47 PM   #4
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockdog
Is it safe to use canned goods past the "best if used by" date marked on the can? I just dumped some diced tomatoes into a slow cooker and didn't realize until after I added everything else, they were past the date. Sorry for such a dumb question...lol. Thanks !
Usually, you can tell by whether there is a "pop" when the can is pierced. Most canned food can last for quite a while, and what causes spoilage is the can or seal deteriorating, in which case the vacuum (and the pop) will not be there. The smell is a good backup test.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:05 PM   #6
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A while ago Katie E and I were going through my (90-year-old) mother's kitchen cabinets. We unearthed several cans from 'way in the back whose labels were pretty much falling off and whose ends were bulging out in a most unwholesome looking manner. We quietly snuck these cans into the trash and congratulated ourselves on helping the old gal live to see many more sunrises (which she has, bless her soul). Short of danger signs like these, you ought to be in pretty good shape.

Other posters are giving you good advice, too. In the words of my dear old POP, "Always smell it first!"

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Old 10-10-2006, 09:37 PM   #7
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Botulinum toxin cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted, so the wisest course is to discard any food that seems spoiled; avoid eating food from dented, rusty, or bulging cans; avoid refreezing meats once they have been thawed; and avoid buying broken containers of food or eating food that has been stored at room temperature or above for more than a few hours. People who like to can food at home must be diligent about using sterile equipment and following U.S. Department of Agriculture canning guidelines.

I got this from a site about botulism. This is something you can't be sure of. However, as long as the can looked good...and only expired in February...for myself I wouldn't be scared of it.
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Old 10-11-2006, 06:31 AM   #8
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Way back in my youth I worked in a canning factory. Fresh fruit and veg were dumped on a conveyor belt and "picked over" to remove any deteriorated or rotten items; then the fruit /veg were cooked ( usually to death) in large stainless steel vats. Then they passed though to a "sterile environment" where they were canned automatically. The cans were then dumped into a huge steel cage and immersed in a boiling water bath for about 30 minutes. Cooled, labelled, dispatched.
The "sell-by date" is important, although almost always it is a conservative calculation, to avoid problems. You can usually eat something a month or so later than the "sell-by" date, unless it's something highly perishable.
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Old 10-11-2006, 02:46 PM   #9
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The dates are not indicators of if the food is safe to eat, nor are they automatic indicators that the food is bad ... read here for info on what the dates on cans mean.

Never buy dented cans (it could compromise the seal), or buy cans with food stains on the labels (indicates a broken seal somewhere in the case), and never buy/use cans which have rust on them (for the same reason) although this is less of a problem with modern aluminum cans than the older "tin" cans. Cans which are bulging should be thrown away without opening them.
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:28 AM   #10
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If the can does not pop when you open it, that should be the first indicator. The pop is caused by pressure between the can and the food, and if that pressure is not there then it leaked out of the can from some where.
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