Opening a can of tomato paste, the contents spewed out. Can I eat this?
April 19, 2011 6:35 PM   Subscribe

Opening a can of tomato paste, the contents spewed out. Can I eat this?

I actually tossed the first little can that did this, but the second did it, too. There was no bulging of the can ends. I can't find a decipherable expiration date anywhere. I bought them recently.
posted by moira to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
Absolutely not. But don't throw them out. Bring them back to the store for free replacements and possible reporting-up-the-chain.
posted by DU at 6:42 PM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Tomato paste actually 'spewed'? That stuff is the thickest foodstuff I've ever used.
Don't eat it.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:51 PM on April 19, 2011

As DU says, absolutely not. You'd be risking botulism.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:51 PM on April 19, 2011

I found this from a previously posted question about bubbly (but not assploding) tomato sauce....

Your tomato sauce fermented, and you shouldn't eat it. (BUT, don't worry about botulism: botulinum bacteria can only survive in anaerobic environments, therefore could not be present in an already opened jar of tomato sauce. There are, according to the CDC, less than 25 cases of food-borne botulism poisoning in the US per year and most of them come from improper home canning.)
posted by agent99 at 10:42 AM on April 16, 2007 [+] [!]

posted by ian1977 at 6:57 PM on April 19, 2011

That's frightening. My opinion's superfluous since you've already rightly marked DU's as the answer, but I'll echo that opinion for any future people pondering this type of question. Canned food that is pressurized and spews when opened? Never eat that.
posted by empyrean at 6:57 PM on April 19, 2011

ian1977: The OP mentions opening two cans. Neither of which were mentioned to be previously opened.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:58 PM on April 19, 2011

It was more of a slow explosion. It snaked out. The sound effects were fantastic; I heard it over my headphones.

Prescient followup: we didn't eat the paste. Nobody died.
posted by moira at 7:00 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm curious how you would have eaten it anyway? Scrape it off the walls and ceiling fan?
posted by ian1977 at 7:06 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Should have previewed.

So it was like those snake fireworks? But with tomato paste?
posted by ian1977 at 7:10 PM on April 19, 2011

Did you open the can upside down? Was it stored upside down at any point?
posted by Loto at 7:12 PM on April 19, 2011

Loto: no to both.
posted by moira at 7:31 PM on April 19, 2011

What about sideways?
posted by ian1977 at 7:33 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Does the can have a 1-800 number from the manufacturer? If so call it. Be nice and tell the operator that you're just reporting an incident that happened. Explain the situation and your fears of contamination. What will likely happen is that you'll get sent coupons to replace those products free of charge. The company may even though in a coupon for an extra can or two.

If there is a serial number or manufacturing date/code anywhere on the can, make note of it and provide that information to the operator as well. That way the company has a place to start in tracking down the bad batch.
posted by sardonyx at 9:25 PM on April 19, 2011

Yes, what sardonyx says. Reporting it can help the company build a data-point for tracking down a potentially bad batch.

Hope it wasn't too icky to clean up. Did it smell off, too?
posted by Heretical at 12:38 AM on April 20, 2011

Anecdotal, but I live in a developing country, where transport and storage standards are not great. Every can of tomato paste I've bought in the last three years (and that's a lot) has either spewed or snaked. It has never made me ill. But I've also never had sound effects from the can.
posted by solotoro at 3:32 AM on April 20, 2011

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