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Food Safety Issues/burgundy stain inside Hunts pasta sauce can


Hi Carol,

I recently used a 24-oz can of Hunts garlic & herb pasta sauce. On the inside of the can, which was white, were burgundy stains, not the same color as the pasta sauce, between about a 1/4 to 1 inch down from the top rim. They smudged when rubbed. Should I be concerned? Thanks.

Hi Eric,

Fortunately, the burgandy stain that you encountered on the white lining of the pasta sauce is perfectly normal and not a food safety issue.  Tomato products packaged in the white lined cans often discolors the lining, just like it would if placed on any other white plastic surface.  The difference in color is due to oxidation that occured during processing as tomato sauce will darken when exposed to air (this is what causes a the darkening around the cap on open catsup bottles).

I called ConAgra, makers of Hunts products, and they confirmed my assessment of the situation and also added that you should always use their products by the "best if used by date" as they don't guarantee quality after that date.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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