Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

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Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby TxAg » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:21 am

Is it safe? I've always heard that it isn't, yet I see folks do it all the time.

From what I've researched it appears to be unsafe, though no one can tell me exactly why.

What say you?
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby TxAg » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:24 am

* edit

More research shows that most cans are actually made from steel these days.

My question remains...
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby lindisfarne » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:09 am

Cans packaged with food outside the US (but sold with food in them in the US) can have lead in the solder. Google for the info.
Some also have linings in them (some of which contain BPA & I don't know what else).
This thread seems a bit off topic & will likely get closed.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby JoinToday » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:42 am

1. probably OK if you heat the can with steam. Most (all?) non-acidic canned goods are heated via steam to prevent botulism, kill bacteria, etc. Acidic foods don't have the same risk, and do not need to be heated as much
2. cans typically have an enameled interior. Not sure how that would stand up to heating from a direct flame
3. no one uses lead on cans now days. Most cans today are 2 piece cans (lid and bottom); there is no side seam that needs to be soldered. The top is not soldered.

Use a pot or pan. Safer.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby lindisfarne » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:17 am

JoinToday wrote:3. no one uses lead on cans now days. Most cans today are 2 piece cans (lid and bottom); there is no side seam that needs to be soldered. The top is not soldered.


That's not correct. As I said, imported cans may contain lead solder.

"Imported food in cans that are sealed with lead solder. Some countries other than the United States still allow lead solder in food cans. Cans that have lead solder have very wide seams. "
http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/CLPPB/Pages/FAQ-CLPPB.aspx

See also
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=92&tid=22
" Lead-soldered cans are still used in some other nations. " Page last reviewed in 2011.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby JoinToday » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:07 am

Maybe you can get cans in other countries with lead, but according to the USDA (US Dept of Agriculture)

Do cans contain lead?
The canned food industry in the United States stopped using lead-soldered cans in 1991. In 1995, the Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule prohibiting the use of lead solder in all food cans, including imported products. Metal cans, which are made of sheet steel — sometimes with a coating of tin — are now welded closed at the seams. The inside of the can may also have an enamel or vinyl protective coating.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FACTSheets/She ... ndex.asp#5
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby lindisfarne » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:23 am

That's good to know.
Although there's not supposed to be lead in children's products either, yet it still happens.
I wouldn't cook food in a can for many reasons.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby furwut » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:32 am

Many people are concerned about eating canned food as the enamel lining has a chemical called BPA that leaches into the food. I think heating the food in the can would exacerbate the amount of leaching.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby livesoft » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:13 am

I don't recall seeing anyone heat food in a can. Can the OPs statement "yet I see folks do it all the time" really be true? Is this because the OP goes camping all the time? Even then, I've camped quite a lot and didn't heat food in the can. It seems that microwave ovens were the end of can-heating.

Maybe we need a poll with these options:
I've heated food in a can in the last month, 3 months, 6 months, year, 3-years, etc.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby SteveB3005 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:51 am

Isn't it how they prepare canned tuna?

The filled cans are then vacuum-sealed and cooked (retorted) for a precise amount of time.


http://www.starkist.com/faq/how-canned-tuna-made
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby SteveB3005 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:55 am

Maybe the mercury counteracts the lead, that's probably it!
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby campy2010 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:34 am

The only thing better than BPA in your food is warm BPA in your food. YUM. Always heat food in glass in the microwave or stainless steel on the stovetop.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby TxAg » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:05 am

livesoft wrote:I don't recall seeing anyone heat food in a can. Can the OPs statement "yet I see folks do it all the time" really be true? Is this because the OP goes camping all the time? Even then, I've camped quite a lot and didn't heat food in the can. It seems that microwave ovens were the end of can-heating.

Maybe we need a poll with these options:
I've heated food in a can in the last month, 3 months, 6 months, year, 3-years, etc.


The poll idea is funny. Personally, I always use a pan.

Yes, I hunt and camp often. I know some guys that will also throw a can of beans on the grill in the backyard right next to the steaks.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby TxAg » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:06 am

lindisfarne wrote:Cans packaged with food outside the US (but sold with food in them in the US) can have lead in the solder. Google for the info.
Some also have linings in them (some of which contain BPA & I don't know what else).
This thread seems a bit off topic & will likely get closed.



Perhaps it is too off topic, but there are many intelligent people here. I will understand if it gets closed.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby cheese_breath » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:07 am

Why take a chance? It doesn't take that long to be safe and wash out a pan after you've cooked in it.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby pshonore » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:58 am

Heating cans of food used to be the way of life in the Army when C rations came in cans. A 30 gallon garbage can (relatively clean) would be partially filled with water which was boiled and then a bunch of cans dumped in to get hot for a few minutes. The same boiling water was then used to clean mess kits.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby BBL » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:04 am

livesoft wrote:I don't recall seeing anyone heat food in a can. Can the OPs statement "yet I see folks do it all the time" really be true? Is this because the OP goes camping all the time? Even then, I've camped quite a lot and didn't heat food in the can. It seems that microwave ovens were the end of can-heating.

Maybe we need a poll with these options:
I've heated food in a can in the last month, 3 months, 6 months, year, 3-years, etc.


If you find the inspiration to start that poll please be sure to include 'never' as an option - I suspect it will be the overwhelming winner.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby Default User BR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:07 pm

Some recipes for dulce de leche involve cooking sweetened condensed milk in the can.


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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby Puakinekine » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:21 pm

Default User BR wrote:Some recipes for dulce de leche involve cooking sweetened condensed milk in the can.

Brian


A better idea, is to transfer the condensed milk to canning jars with new lids and proceed as usual. It's how I do it. I used the in the can method once and could taste the metal.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby gwrvmd » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:30 pm

As mentioned above, if it wasn't safe most GIs who served prior to 1965 would be dead. A can of hot dogs and beans heated on the hot muffler of a jeep fed many a man...Gordon
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby livesoft » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:35 pm

gwrvmd wrote:As mentioned above, if it wasn't safe most GIs who served prior to 1965 would be dead. A can of hot dogs and beans heated on the hot muffler of a jeep fed many a man...Gordon

I think most GIs who served prior to 1965 are dead, but what does that prove?
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby gkaplan » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:47 pm

livesoft wrote:
gwrvmd wrote:As mentioned above, if it wasn't safe most GIs who served prior to 1965 would be dead. A can of hot dogs and beans heated on the hot muffler of a jeep fed many a man...Gordon

I think most GIs who served prior to 1965 are dead, but what does that prove?


I don't know, but it seems that several World War II veterans, some Korean veterans, and many Vietnam veterans are not dead.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby Sheepdog » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:58 pm

I worked for a paint company which manufactured can coatings. Most, if not all, cans are lined with a protective can coating to protect the product from attacking the can itself and contaminating the food. Some are clear coatings and some are pigmented. Different coatings go into cans for different products. The can coating protects the product so that is why a grocery store is not allowed to sell a dented can. A dented can could lead to bare metal contacting the food. (They may sell a dented can but when the store is inspected and dented cans are found on the shelf, they will be fined.)
It is not a good idea to heat a can, but I have several times, including in the Marines in 1952. (Yes, we are still alive, and my investment plan is that I will be around for another 20. Anyway, I am sure that livesoft was just teasing.)
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby interplanetjanet » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:25 pm

Default User BR wrote:Some recipes for dulce de leche involve cooking sweetened condensed milk in the can.

Known just as "cooked can" in some places. It works very well, provided that you don't let your water boil dry or open a can before it has cooled.

I've never done either, but appearantly the results of doing the latter are fairly impressive. I haven't had a problem with metallic tastes and I'm normally fairly sensitive to them. Different can linings, perhaps?
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby livesoft » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:35 pm

gkaplan wrote:
livesoft wrote:
gwrvmd wrote:As mentioned above, if it wasn't safe most GIs who served prior to 1965 would be dead. A can of hot dogs and beans heated on the hot muffler of a jeep fed many a man...Gordon

I think most GIs who served prior to 1965 are dead, but what does that prove?


I don't know, but it seems that several World War II veterans, some Korean veterans, and many Vietnam veterans are not dead.

I agree that folks have confusion about the words "several", "some", "many", and "most".
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby john94549 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:03 am

pshonore wrote:Heating cans of food used to be the way of life in the Army when C rations came in cans. A 30 gallon garbage can (relatively clean) would be partially filled with water which was boiled and then a bunch of cans dumped in to get hot for a few minutes. The same boiling water was then used to clean mess kits.


In the Navy, in the 70s, we used the tops of the diesel engines. Food was good; fumes were horrid.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby beardsworth » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:00 am

furwut wrote:Many people are concerned about eating canned food as the enamel lining has a chemical called BPA that leaches into the food.


Exactly. And it's rather scary stuff.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/2 ... nd-drinks/

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott ... ur-ovaries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby lindisfarne » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:09 am

Puakinekine wrote:
Default User BR wrote:Some recipes for dulce de leche involve cooking sweetened condensed milk in the can.
Brian


A better idea, is to transfer the condensed milk to canning jars with new lids and proceed as usual. It's how I do it. I used the in the can method once and could taste the metal.


This is very good information. I have had the sweetened condensed milk, boiled in a can, a few times, in another country, when I was younger, & when I was not as concerned about (& far less aware of) the risk of lead in the can/solder (and there probably was since this was a 3rd world country). It is yummy, but I've never boiled a can myself.

How long do you boil the jar for?
Some lids have that rubber-y substance that ensures a tight fit between jar & lid - does it survive an hour long boiling? (I know it's designed to survive some boiling, since it's for canning - but an hour is a little different.

Shall we now discuss teflon pans & the fumes they can emit (esp. if they get quite hot - which can happen on the stove top) & the bits of teflon that can fall off (and associated hazards for you & your pets)?
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby boglestan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:24 am

gwrvmd wrote:As mentioned above, if it wasn't safe most GIs who served prior to 1965 would be dead. A can of hot dogs and beans heated on the hot muffler of a jeep fed many a man...Gordon

The cans were different. They weren't lined with plastic like they are now.
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Re: Is it safe to cook/heat food in a tin can?

Postby Firewood42 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:17 pm

Back around the early 1960's my friends and I did a lot of backpacking and camping. Typical meal was a can of pork and beans. Punch a hole in it, lay it up next to the fire. Add some hotdogs or fish we caught and we had a hot meal. All of us are still healthy 50 years later but of course we didn't go camping every day.
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