How Long Can Food Be Stored?-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, April 15, 2013

How Long Can Food Be Stored?

Refrigerator

By now, you have read the articles in the Lifeline pertaining to what the desired internal temperatures are when cooking raw meats.  Let’s look now at how long you should be storing your food items both before and after they are cooked!

Assuming a 40 F or lower refrigeration temperature, the USDA recommends these short, but safe, time limits that will help keep the following refrigerated food from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat:


Lunch meat (opened):  3-5 days
Lunch meat (unopened): 2 weeks
Eggs (fresh, in shell): 3-5 weeks
Eggs (raw yolks and whites): 2-4 days
Mayonnaise (opened): 2 months
Hot dogs (opened): 1 week
Hot dogs (unopened): 2 weeks
Bacon: 7 days
Sausage breakfast links, patties:  7 days
Raw hamburger and stew meat: 1-2 days
Steaks: 3-5 days
Pork chops: 3-5 days
Soups and stews, vegetable or meats added: 3-4 days
Fresh chicken and turkey: 1-2 days
Cooked meat or meat casseroles: 3-4 days
Fried chicken: 3-4 days
Gravy and meat broth: 3-4 days

Generally, freezing food will keep food safe indefinitely but the quality will degrade over time depending on the food item. 

Source: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Basics_for_Handling_Food_Safely/

By: Andrew Lawson, alawson@andrew.cmu.edu, 412-268-8405