I just opened a can of petit pois and I found them covered in this white, gooey substance, as opposed (or maybe better "in addition") to the usual clear liquid.

can of peas

I don't think I have seen it before. I think it's weird that something canned goes bad like that (expiration date is in mid 2020), but I guess it's possible. The weird thing is that I opened a second can (the same brand and kind) and found the same thing. The smell isn't really bad, but I'm still rather hesitant to eat it (in fact I probably won't no matter the answer to this question, but now I'm curious). The cans were stored in a closet cabinet, with the rest of the cans, and I've never had a similar problem before.

I tried to look it up but I didn't find anything clear. Is it possible that this stuff is normal?

  • 1
    Weird, I haven't seen that before in a can of peas. If both your cans had this it probably means its normal for this particular brand or batch.
    – haakon.io
    May 2, 2017 at 19:29
  • @haakon319 Yes, that's what I thought, that maybe it's normal for this brand... although, I don't know, maybe it could be a bad batch?
    – javidcf
    May 2, 2017 at 19:42
  • 1
    Do these peas have butter or a butter flavored additive?
    – Cindy
    May 2, 2017 at 21:13
  • @Cindy Thanks for the suggestion, but no, the ingredients list just says "Petit pois, water".
    – javidcf
    May 3, 2017 at 6:35
  • 2
    It just looks like starch.
    – Niall
    May 3, 2017 at 10:04

1 Answer 1


Looks like starch. Several sites I find mention this for different vegetables containing starch, and they all seem to quote Causes and Possible Solutions for Problems with Canned Foods from the National Center for Home Food Preservation (note that these are guidelines for canning):

Cloudy liquid (sometimes denotes spoilage)

Causes and solution:
1. Starch in vegetables - Select products at desirable stage of maturity. Do not use overmature vegetables. If canning potatoes, use fresh boiling water to cover and not cooking liquid from preparing hot pack.
2. Minerals in water - Use soft water.
3. Additives in salts - Use pure refined salt (pickling or canning salt) without additives.
4. Spoilage - Prepare food as directed with published canning process. Process by recommended method and for recommended time.

I would just drain and rinse them, and let my taste and smell be the ultimate guide.

Another guideline formulated a little differently

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