A can is composed of three seals. The body of the can is wrapped around and sealed together; the top and bottom of the can are sealed (double seamed) to the body.
How do I examine a can?
Thoroughly inspect all areas of the can for defects. One way to tell if a can is potentially dangerous is to push on the top and bottom of the can. If the top or bottom of the can moves in any way or makes a popping sound, the can's seal has been broken and air has made its way inside.
Popped cans should be discarded or returned to the store or distributor where they were purchased. If the can does not make a noise or move, it is most likely safe for consumption despite any dents.
Check all seals and seams. Discard the can immediately if you notice any holes, sharp dents, punctures, bulges, leaks or seepage. Products in slightly dented cans are safe to consume as long as there are no leaks, and the product appears wholesome.
When is a can unsafe for use or sale?
A can is unsafe for use or sale if the seal is broken or damaged, the can is bulging, and/or punctures or holes are present on the can.
When is a can safe for use or sale?
A can is safe for use or sale if the can appears intact, the seals are not broken or damaged, there are no holes or punctures, and the can is not leaking or seeping. Cans with minor dents should be used/sold first.
What do I do with a can that is unsafe for use or sale?
If a can is unsafe, remove it immediately and discard or store it in an area marked for vendor pick up/credit. Never open a can that is unsafe for use or sale as microorganisms may become airborne and cause health issues.
What are the appropriate methods for cleaning a can?
If the surface of a can has stains or particles, such as rodent droppings, clean it with soap and hot water, rinse with clean water and sanitize before opening. If the can has a light layer of dust, wipe with a sanitizer before opening.
What is the public health risk of using a defective can?
Defective cans may leak and allow microorganisms to enter food, causing food poisoning or other health problems. The most dangerous toxin is produced by the microorganism Clostridium botulinum, which causes paralysis and death.
Never open cans that show signs of botulism: leaking, bulging, rusting or badly dented cans; cracked jars; jars with loose or bulging lids; canned food with a foul odor; or any container that spurts liquid when opening.
Opening a contaminated can may cause health problems if the toxin is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through eyes or breaks in the skin. Do not taste this food!
What if I drop a can during my shift? Is it safe to use?
If you drop a can, examine it for any defects. If the can is damaged or if you suspect the content was compromised, do not place it back on the shelf. Once you have determined that the can is safe for consumption, transfer the contents to a food grade container. Remember to properly label the container with the date it was transferred. Cans that do not show physical signs of damage can be placed back on the shelf.