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Steps to Salvage All-Metal Cans and Retort Pouches

Consumers Guide to steps to salvage all metal cans and retort pouches

Courtesy of Shelley Swenson
Wakulla County FCS/EFNEP Agent

Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:

• Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.

• Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.

• Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.

• Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.

• Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:

• Place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or

• Place in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.

• Air-dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.

• If the labels were removable then re-Iabel your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if  available), with a marker.

• Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.

• Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.

 Source: www.fsis.usda .gov