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Cold Storage Chart

Follow these food safety guidelines from the USDA, the FDA, and the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association to keep most known pathogens away (though not, for example, the agent that causes Mad Cow Disease).

  • Purchase foods before "sell-by" or expiration dates.
  • Follow the handling recommendations on product.
  • Keep meat and poultry in its package until just before using.
  • If freezing meat and poultry in its original package longer than 2 months, over-wrap these packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper, or place the package inside a plastic bag.
Because freezing (0° F) keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only.

Product Refrigerator Freezer

Eggs
Fresh, in shell 3 weeks Don't freeze
Raw yolks, whites 2 to 4 days 1 year

Liquid pasteurized eggs
or egg substitutes:


opened 3 days Don't freeze
unopened 10 days 1 year

Mayonnaise,
commercial

Refrigerate 2 months
after opening

Don't freeze


TV dinners, frozen casseroles
Keep frozen until ready to heat
3 to 4 months


Deli and Vacuum-Packed Products


Store prepared
(or homemade)
egg, chicken, tuna, ham,
macaroni salads
3 to 5 days Don't freeze well

Pre-stuffed pork or
lamb chops, chicken breasts
stuffed w/dressing

1 day

Don't freeze well

Store-cooked
convenience meals

3 to 4 days

Don't freeze well

Commercial brand
vacuum-packed dinners
w/seal, unopened

2 weeks

Don't freeze well


Raw Hamburger, Ground and Stew Meats
Hamburger
and stew meats
1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months

Ground turkey,
veal, pork, lamb
and mixtures of them

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months


Ham, Corned Beef
Corned beef in pouch
with pickling juices
5 to 7 days drained, 1 month

Ham, canned, labeled
"Keep Refrigerated,"


unopened 6 to 9 months Don't freeze
opened 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months

Ham, fully cooked,
whole

7 days

1 to 2 months

Ham, fully cooked,
half

3 to 5 days

1 to 2 months

Ham, fully cooked,
slices

3 to 4 days

1 to 2 months


Hot Dogs and Lunch Meats
Hot Dogs

opened package 1 week 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months

Lunch meats


opened package 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months


Soups and Stews
Vegetable or meat 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months


Bacon & Sausage
Bacon 7 days 1 month

Sausage, raw from
port, beef, chicken
or turkey

1 to 2 days

1 to 2 months

Smoked breakfast
links, patties

7 days

1 to 2 months

Summer sausage labeled
"Keep Refrigerated,"


unopened package 3 months 1 to 2 months
opened package 3 weeks 1 to 2 months


Fresh meat (beef, veal, lamb, and pork)
Steaks 3 to 5 days 6 to 12 months
Chops 3 to 5 days 4 to 6 months
Roasts 3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months

Variety meats (tongue,
kidneys, liver
heart, chitterlings)

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months


Meat leftovers
Cooked meat and
meat dishes
3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months

Gravy and meat broth

1 to 2 days

2 to 3 months


Fresh poultry: chicken or turkey
whole 1 to 2 days 1 year
parts 1 to 2 days 9 months
giblets 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months


Cooked poultry, leftover
Fried chicken 3 to 4 days 4 months
Cooked poultry dishes 3 to 4 days 4 to 6 months
Pieces, plain 3 to 4 days 4 months
Pieces covered
with broth, gravy
1 to 2 days 6 months
Chicken nuggets, patties 1 to 2 days 1 to 3 months


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