Imagine buying second hand food (not quite regurgitated food for your own consumption) but more like discounted food for sale. The catch? The products expiration dates already passed but the food is still relatively safe for consumers. From ABC Channel 7, there is a store in Westchester County that is selling reclaimed foods. They sell items from paper dishes that have ripped labels, to dented boxes of cereal. The food while past their expiration date, are still rather safe to eat at an affordable rate. The only food items they do not sell are those that expire quickly such as milk or eggs.
While I’m glad that there is an affordable option for those who can’t afford to spend $3-4 for a bottle of juice, I get a bit worried that when I saw that they also sell dented canned goods.
While depending on the type of dents are on your average damaged can, there is a risk of botulism if you choose to consume the contents of a dented can.
From a Food Safety informational brochure from the USDA:
“While extremely rare, a toxin produced byClostridium botulinum is the worst danger in canned foods. NEVER USE food from containers 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. DO NOT TASTE THIS FOOD! Even the tiniest amount of botulinum toxin can be deadly."
Botulism can cause a number of ailments from blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, to more severe symptoms such as paralysis of breathing muscles leading to death.
While it’s good to save a buck or two on groceries (all for it), it is definitely not worth it to save a buck if you may be potentially susceptible to botulism from a bad can of beans. Something the Channel 7 reporter really should drive home (but did not, which is a disservice to people who would not otherwise know better).