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Is it safe to eat food from a rusted can? March 2, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: , , , ,

Silence Dogood here. I was making chili on Friday and grabbed a can of pureed tomatoes, only to find that the top had rusted around the rim. Yikes! I had never encountered a rusted can before.

Considering that tomatoes are acidic, and that acidity and rust sounds like a pretty bad combination, I tossed the can. But I hated to waste the food, especially when the can was showing no obvious signs of peril such as warping and bulging. (Unless you want to die of botulism poisoning, throw a can with a bulging lid out!)

I was still curious, so I Googled the topic of rusted cans. The general consensus was that if the rust had reached the inside of the can, throw it out. If it was just on the outside, and the can was still the appropriate can shape, the food was safe to eat. The way to tell was to empty the food out of the can and make sure there was no rust on the inside.

My can’s problem was that the rust wasn’t on the inside but on the rim. To open the can, the can-opener would inevitably drop rust into the pureed tomatoes. Better safe than sorry!

Why this one can rusted when no can had ever rusted before continues to baffle me. But I think my safety, and our friend Ben’s, is worth tossing the occasional rusted can, however much guilt it produces.

‘Til next time,




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