Dented baby formula from grocery salvage??
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  1. #1

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    Question Dented baby formula from grocery salvage??

    Hello! I'm happy to have just found this site. Hoping someone here might have some knowledge/input to offer on this subject.

    My 3 month old is on formula because I am unable to breastfeed due to a prior breast reduction. We qualify for WIC, but they don't allow organic formula, which I feel is really important. Problem, of course, is affording the organic formula. Our local grocery salvage often has the organic formula my son drinks, in powdered form, with one or two small dents in the can. I've bought it several times (it's at least half price), but was just reading that formula manufacturers recommend not using dented cans of powdered formula. I've been figuring that if the cans are not broken and are still sealed, it should be fine since it's just powder. Am I wrong? I want to save money, but certainly don't want to give my baby food poisoning! I can't seem to find a straight answer on this (and suspect that formula companies, doctors, etc would be a little too paranoid to tell me that this is ok even if it probably is).

    Alternately, is there a way to tell if powdered formula is spoiled? If I mixed it with water would it taste bad if it weren't safe?

  2. #2
    Registered User savvy_sniper's Avatar
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    My rule of thumb at the salvage store - check the expiration date, no leaking cans, and IF the can is dented to press on the top. If it gives, the seal is compromised so I don't purchase that can.

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    I guess I would call the formula company and ask.

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    Well, the formula companies all say not to use any dented cans, but I suspect that even if it's safe to use them, they would say not to in order to avoid any kind of lawsuits. And I've tried to find information on whether small dents that haven't otherwise compromised the cans could really cause any problems - but everything is kind of based on what the companies say. The local salvage is run by mennonites, so I've thought that they probably wouldn't sell the formula if it wasn't safe - but I don't know. Prior to reading that I shouldn't be doing it, I've fed my baby about 20 cans of slightly dented formula, and he's never had an issue...just don't want to make him sick...

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    It's probably safe but given this is your precious baby...if you have absolutely any doubts in your mind, then you had probably better not feed him out of the dented cans.

    I couldn't breast feed either. We started DD on canned Enfamil but eventually switched to the powdered generic Walmart formula which was nutritionally equivalent to the Enfamil. They didn't have the stuff with lipids then, and I didn't know organic existed, and believe me, she turned out just fine. In fact she is a happy, bright child about to turn 8. 'Despite' being fed generic formula she is very intelligent (reading at around 6th grade level) and very healthy.

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    Registered User bumplett's Avatar
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    my vote would be listen to that little voice inside your head.

    if you've used 20ish cans already and he's not sick, my guess would be that it's just fine.

    they also 'recommend' that we not eat adult food with dents in the can, but I use dented cans often - I'm not dead yet.

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    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    Personally, I would just use regular formula. It would be harder to tell if a can has a crack when it contains powder rather than liquid. Your child has not been made sick by the formula because as of yet there have been no imperceptible cracks that allow the formula to spoil. If that does happen, he will get sick. I'm sure the Mennonites are very nice people, but they can't tell the formula is safe any more than you can.

    I have 3 children, all who have used regular formula, and there are also millions of other kids who were fed regular formula and turned out just fine. I weighed the options and decided that organic formula was likely not worth the cost. It's already a heavily altered food, so I personally doubt there is a compelling difference. When deciding on whether to spend extra for food or toys or books, I do a quick college fund test and think to myself... what would be more useful to my child? The extra cost and benefit of organic formula? Or the same amount of money socked away in a college fund?

    Anyway, that is just my opinion. If you do use the dented cans, I would remove the label and check for any cracks, and then empty the powder out into second container and make sure it looks and smells okay, and then feel inside the can for any cracks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bumplett View Post
    my vote would be listen to that little voice inside your head.

    if you've used 20ish cans already and he's not sick, my guess would be that it's just fine.

    they also 'recommend' that we not eat adult food with dents in the can, but I use dented cans often - I'm not dead yet.
    True, he hasn't been sickened yet, the key word being yet. She might get by just fine, but what if? All it might take is one imperceptible crack, and the child could get very sick, as Nishu suggested in her subsequent post. It's an infant's health we are talking about. Regular formula in a can, when she qualifies for WIC, vs purchasing potentially contaminated 'organic' formula? Like I said; she may be right; you may be right, it is 'probably' safe, but is it really worth the risk of a child's health just for an organic label?

    If she wants to feed him organic that bad, sacrifice, scrimp and save somewhere else in the budget and buy undamaged cans at least.

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    Registered User Shelli_wnj's Avatar
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    I also wasn't able to breastfeed, and I used the wic formula (at the time it was similac) with no ill effects for my two sons. My older son is almost 4 and has had no behavioral or physical problems. Same for my younger son who is about to turn 2. I would have breastfed if I could, but I don't eat totally organic, so that would have come out in the milk, anyway.
    As for the dented cans, I just wouldn't feel comfortable.

  11. #10

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    Thank you all for the food for thought!

    I'm definitely leaning toward going ahead and either just switching to the WIC formula or buying organic at the regular grocery store. Prior to reading about this online, I guess I thought that the salvage wouldn't be "allowed" to sell the formula if there were a chance that it was dangerous. I thought maybe as a last resort before making a final decision, I'll go in and talk to the manager, ask them if they have some standards for this or what. I don't understand how they can even be selling it if it can make babies sick!

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