...an informal taste test conducted by a New York grocer who rounded up old cans from a number of warehouses, put on a luncheon in which he served their contents side by side with those from new cans, and asked his guests to choose which version they preferred. Among the test foods were fourteen-year-old pea soup and beef stew, and twelve-year-old corned beef and pigs’ feet. The guests preferred the old cans “by an overwhelming majority.”
Well, everything but the advice about simmering canned foods to enhance their flavor. BPA, anyone?
Still, we have developed a very fearful relationship with food in the United States, which is part of the reason so much food gets wasted. People no longer trust their senses when it comes to evaluating food.
Yes, there is this one bacteria that can make an odorless maybe tasteless toxin that can kill you, but it can't grow in acidic food and it can't grow in refrigerated food and it doesn't actually like oxygen, so the dangerous foods are those which are non acidic, wet, sealed, and have been stored between 40 and 140 degrees. If you open a container and it goes pfffft, because there has been gas production inside an ostensibly sealed container, DON'T EAT THAT FOOD.
However, if there is some mold on your cheese, you can cut it off and still eat the rest, if it tastes OK. Sometimes the mold has reached farther into the food than is visible, but it's o.k. to move on to your senses of taste and smell to determine what can be eaten. A little mold won't kill you. Yes, there is a mold that grows on rye grain that can act as a hallucinogen, but it's got to be incredibly rare, because the only case I've ever heard described of actual ingestion involved the Salem witch trials (and was just a theory).
Now, I'm not advocating getting sloppy with things like flavored oils or canning non-acidic foods, I'm ranting about people throwing perfectly good food away because they are too scared to try to figure out if it is still worth eating.