"Sanitary" cans. - Until the last few years it was the general custom to seal tin cans by soldering. It was inevitable that some small portion of the solder should be exposed to the action of the contents of the can, and frequently drops of solder were lost among the contents of the can. The " sanitary " can is now used by the best packers. In this can the food is hermetically sealed without the use of solder by a clever mechanical device which folds and compresses the overlapping edges of the top and sides of the can. Such cans are stamped "Sanitary" on one end, and the consumer should discriminate in their favor for his own safety and to encourage the use of the best methods in packing.
To prevent the undesirable reaction between acid fruits and vegetables and the metal of the cans, all tins employed for packing foods of strongly acid character should be lacquer-lined by a heat-resisting varnish. This is especially important since the cost of tin has advanced and the tin covering of sheet metal used for the manufacture of cans has become very thin.
Cans rusted on the exterior are not evidence of deteriorating contents, but cans rusted on the interior may have an undesirable effect on the food. Experience shows that soldered cans are often so rusted at the soldered end.
"Swells." - Imperfectly sterilized foods often produce gas, which bulges the ends of cans and sometimes causes the can to burst. This is more likely to occur in the case of those foods that contain the least acid and are most difficult to sterilize, such as corn. Reputable distributors will accept such goods, known as " swells," if the swelling has occurred within a time ' limit set at the date of sale, and will reimburse the buyer to the amount of the bill. It is difficult for the small buyer to return such packages to the retail dealer for credit unless he can prove that he has had the goods but a short time and has kept them in a cool place. Quantities of swelled cans are returned constantly to packers and distributors, and unscrupulous handlers of such goods are known to have returned them to the market by the process of puncturing the can along the side to allow the escape of gas, then re-heating, re-sealing, and re-labeling. Such practice may be detected on opening the can by the presence of the punctured and soldered spot. Needless to say the use of food so processed is most unsafe.
Labels and trade names or brands.
The interests of the consumer necessitate that the label shall declare the name of the packing company, the place of packing, the weight of contents, the amount of liquid, the medium of the pack (water or sirup), the grade of the product, and the name and address of the distributors or jobbers. All this should appear whether the goods are packed in the state where they are sold or in another state. The date when packed should be stamped in the tin, as the word "sanitary" now is in some cans.
In order that the statement regarding grade of goods may not be misleading, it is necessary that trade names of grades have uniform significance for packers and that the use of the uniform grading methods and nomenclature be required by law. At present only experience enables one to know just how good is the "best" grade of any given packer's product. All "best" grades are not now by any means equal. If the definitions of the grades are printed in fine type on the label, it is helpful to the buyer. The consumer might be aided further by the color of the label declaring the grade of the package contents. Thus a white label might be used for products of the highest grade, and red, blue, green, yellow in the order of decreasing quality. The business of determining grades would necessarily be an annual matter, and could probably best be done by a joint-committee representing the producers, the packing interests, and the . Federal government.