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canned goods safety

I have an unopened can of anchovies. The top & bottom surfaces of the can look "bowed out" and a little dented, and pop a little when I press on it, as if air had got in. I first noticed a little oil on my fingers after taking the can off the shelf. Other canned fish in my pantry don't have these qualities--no dents, no bowing, no popping. Should I toss? Label is Cento brand, "semi-preserved", packed in olive oil and salt.

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

asked over 5 years ago

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6 answers 1643 views
Merrill Stubbs
Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 5 years ago

Definitely toss it!

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creamtea
creamtea

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added over 5 years ago

Thanks.

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ChefOno
added over 5 years ago


What you are describing could very possibly be contamination by C. botulinum. Wash / sanitize / disinfect anything the oil has come into contact with!

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creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

thanks, ChefOno. Will do. It didn't come in contact with much, very thin "film" and tin was in cabinet all this time. Still I'm cleaning.

ChefOno
added over 5 years ago


The term "semi-preserved" caught my eye and interest. Notice the temperature requirement (< 50F).

These are fish products with > 6% water phase salt (WPS) or a pH < 5.0. Preservatives (sorbate, benzoate, nitrate) may or may not be added. These products require chill storage (< 10°C). Normally, there is no heat-treatment applied neither during processing nor in the preparation before consumption. Traditional production often includes a long ripening period (several months) of the raw material before final processing. Product examples are salted and marinated fish, fermented fish and caviar products. This type of product has been the cause of illness related to the presence of bacterial toxins (botulism), parasites, biotoxins and histamine.

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