Date: July 1988 (Reviewed June 1996)
Source: University of Wisconsin
It is possible for canned foods to spoil, either due to improper heat processing or damage to the container. Examine the container of food before you open it. Cans with bulging ends or leaks or bulging, or unsealed jar lids indicate the possibility of spoilage. When you open a can, spurting or frothy liquid, mold or off-odors indicate possible spoilage. Do not use canned foods that show any of these signs of spoilage. Dispose of the food without tasting it, and do it in a way that will prevent consumption by other people or by animals.
Canned low-acid foods can contain the deadly toxin caused by growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, without showing any visible signs of spoilage. The risk of botulism is greater with home-canned foods than it is with commercially-canned products. There is no danger of botulism if you can low acid foods at the correct pressure, and for a sufficient time in a pressure-canner. But, if you are uncertain that you followed such procedures, it is best to boil home-canned vegetables and meats for 10 minutes before tasting. If the lids on jars of these low-acid foods are not sealed, or if you know that such foods were canned in a boiling water bath canner, do not use them under any conditions. Dispose of improperly processed home-canned foods in away that will prevent consumption by humans or animals.
If you need further information, please contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.
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For More Information Contact your North Dakota County Extension Office of the NDSU Extension Service for additional information or see our main NDSU Web Page for publications and articles on Agriculture, Horticulture, Youth and Family, Business and Community and Food and Nutrition at http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/