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Bulging sealed pico de gallo

I bought a plastic tub of pico de gallo last week at TJs which has a plastic seal beneath a plastic lid. I just removed the plastic lid and the seal is bulging and taut. I don't buy many products like this so not sure what to think but seems odd. Anyone else noticed this with sealed products? Bulging products just make me think of bacterial contamination but thought I'd ask.

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    1. re: mcsheridan

      Absolutely--I'd bring it back, too.

      1. re: pinehurst

        That was the plan even if it smells ok, bulging seems bad

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I wouldn't even open but just take back... it could spew all over the place!?!

          1. re: kseiverd

            I opened slowly stuck a knife under the seal, but it's going back.

      2. re: mcsheridan

        It's probably fermenting. It's not necessarily a bad sign as kimchi/kraut undergoes the same process.

        1. re: joonjoon

          They're fermented products by nature; salsa isn't.

          1. re: mcsheridan

            But there's no reason you can't make fermented salsa. :D

            1. re: joonjoon

              But an anaerobic fermented salsa???

                1. re: joonjoon

                  I can think of many more pleasurable ways...

                  1. re: JMF

                    What's more pleasurable than bad salsa evacuating your system? :D

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      not having to evacuate bad anything from your system.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        You really oughtta open yourself up to new experiences.

                        1. re: joonjoon

                          I've experienced more than enough gastrointestinal distress due to "interesting" food that I'm quite entitled to take steps to avoid it, thanks.

      3. Could it be nitrogen?
        The acidic nature of the product would make me doubt that bacteria was causing the bulge, but of course, better safe than sorry.

        4 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          There were accompanying bubbles in the salsa so perhaps but could be any gas causing bubbles.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Bubbles would worry me more than the bulge.
            It would be interesting to take this tub back, get another and open it asap.

            1. re: monavano

              Yea the nitrogen mention reminded me of the bubbles

            2. re: fldhkybnva

              oh my.

              Bulging and bubbles is a sure sign of bad things going on in there.

              this is one of the few "is it safe" threads where I'm going to wholeheartedly side with pitch it or take it back.

              Whatever's going on in there isn't healthy.

          2. Open and smell, if it smells ok then taste, if it tastes or smells interesting, take back.

            4 Replies
                1. re: treb

                  I agree, if it tastes or smells interesting, take it back. TJ's foods are rarely interesting, so there must be a problem with it.

                2. Normally I am in the "go ahead and eat it" camp but my experience with over-fermented salsa is that it tastes horrible. I'd be less worried about bacteria and more concerned with the harsh, sour taste you'd likely experience if it is bulging.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: tcamp

                    This was my thought was that it has been fermenting. It smelled slightly sour, nothing too strong but I imagine doesn't taste very good. Thanks.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Yes, it's fermenting. By the way that's not surprising for fresh pico de gallo you bought "last week." If you were to taste it it (not a recommendation - don't do this) it would be actually fizzy. You have to use pico de gallo right away, whether you buy it from the store or make it yourself at home. It doesn't improve with age.

                      Edited to clarify: unless it was like this the first day you got it, or the next, it's not fermenting now because Trader Joe's was selling a defective product. It's fermenting because that's what happens after a few days with pico de gallo.

                      1. re: ratgirlagogo

                        It's before the stamped expiration date, so shouldn't they be accounting for that. It was last Thursday, not even a week. So if it's fermenting before their own expiration date, sounds like an issue to me.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          It was probably stored in an unrefridgerated area for a while during transport. The temps kicked off "early" fermentation.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            What was the stamped expiration date (if you still have the tub)? If TJ's is selling this with stamped dates that suggest you have as much as a week to use it, then, OK, that's on them, because that's not true.

                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                              as a TJ's customer for decades, i disagree with your analysis.

                              TJ'S will take back their stuff.
                              all this dancing around over the expiration date will be a complete waste of time unless you find such a dance to be entertaining.

                              just take the stuff back and get a refund

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                It's going back, I've been wondering why this discussion is still going :)

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Oh, come. You know the answer. ;-)))

                                2. re: westsidegal

                                  "as a TJ's customer for decades, i disagree with your analysis"
                                  My analysis of what? I don't have an opinion about TJ's return policies. My opinion is about pico de gallo in sealed containers, no matter where it was purchased. I don't have an opinion either way about TJ's brand as opposed to anyone else's.

                      2. Just make sure you never buy one of their frequently bulging organic pre brined chickens, even long before the sell by date. Only tightly clinging wrapped ones.

                        The smell is unreal.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mcf

                          Wow, gross...it seems like you've experienced this more than once. Do they not check these things? :)

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            That's what I asked, since when they refunded me the second time, plus offered me a free one to take home, I noticed then that some were blown up, some were tightly packaged.

                            In my store, the apparent answer is "no." These were a week at least before the sell by dates, too. If they weren't so good (when not stinking to high hell), I'd never chance it, but now I know what to look for.

                        2. No good!
                          I have bought that exact same product and there should NOT be any bulging or bubbles or nothing.
                          Sonething funky is growing inside.
                          Get a new one from the very back of the fridge. Its yummy stuff! Just, not the one you got....

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            Thanks! The empty tub is already in the grocery bag ready to be returned this week.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              I brought them the stinky chickens. They chose to take my word for the stench. :-)

                              1. re: mcf

                                I would have insisted they smell them. "Look, look. Here, see, see. Smell, smell." As I shoved the chickens under their noses.

                                1. re: JMF

                                  I did that at a grocery store years ago -- they refunded my money promptly.

                          2. Same here but having read this post I decided to keep an eye on it. I bought it July 12 on my way to the beach and it just bulged this morning, a day after the sell by date. Looks fine to me and there is no sub withinn miles so it's WFD. I'm marinating chicken strips for fajitas in a mix of the pdg, garlic, evoo and lime juice. It will be cooked over high heat.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Berheenia

                              Hmm, good luck! I think you'll survive but mine went in the trash.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Thanks for the heads up or I wouldn't have paid attention and we would have been out of luck. :)

                              1. i suspect you knew the answer to your question before you even posted:

                                RETURN IT TO TJ'S
                                in my experience, they will refund every cent to you

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  In fact I didn't but thank you. It was a general question if anyone had seen this before and if it was ok. If they all bulge then hmm, perhaps that would have been normal.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    they don't all bulge.
                                    it is a sign of fermentation/spoilage.

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      Yes thus why I asked as I haven't personally inspected all the containers to know. So no I didn't ask a question I knew the answer to.

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                        Are you ready to beat your head against the wall yet?? <grin>

                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                            LOL, I should have guessed. Did you ever imagine you would still be talking about this 5 days later?

                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                              Nope, especially as I have already been refunded so the salsa no longer exists in my mind :) The internet...fascinating.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                but cue five more posts about stuff you should make with decomposing pico de gallo, because no one has actually read the posts to see that you've already thrown it away and taken the container back and received the refund...

                                2. Several things can cause harmless bulging in fresh packs. If the food was packed right at freezing temperatures, any captured air will expand even at 40 degree refrigerator temperatures and give you a bulged lid. Living in the Reno area at 4500' elevation, most of the food at the market was processed at near sea level, and that definitely adds to the bulge. All my salsa with the plastic seals has a bulge.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: NVJims

                                    Exactly, why I asked the question. Thanks for another perspective.