It doesn’t happen that often, but while rummaging through the food stocks I came across this:
Note the can on the right. It’s a bit tough to see on a two-dimensional plane, but that thing is bulging like BIll Clinton’s trousers at sorority party. (And before you get worked up, that can on the left isn’t leaking…it just picked up some liquid that was on the counter when I sat the cans down.)
As you know, when a can is bulging it’s a sign that you’ve gone from having stored food to having the one of the basic building blocks of botulism poisoning.
My experience has been that high-acid foods like tomatoes are the ones most likely to have problems. As I think back, every can failure I’ve had has been with high-acid food.
Age? Well, these cans have been sitting in the classic ‘cool dark place’ at slightly less than room temperature for the last eight years. Eight years isn’t that long on canned foods, but these cans were from a boutique grocery and were imported from Turkey. I’m gonna guess that high-quality enamel-lined cans are not exactly a mainstay of Turkish food processing.
Anyway, the moral of the story is next time you’re dinking around in your stored food take a gander at things and check for defects.