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When things in the fridge start to mold, ooze, or smell, you recognize it’s time to litter them out. However how perform you avoid getting to that point?

How lengthy do leftovers last?

According come the FDA Food Code, all perishable foods items that are opened up or prepared have to be thrown the end after 7 days, maximum. No leftovers have to survive in your refrigerator for longer than that. Some foods items should be even be thrown away before the 7 day mark. Refer to expiration dates and also food security guidelines come know just how to handle specific foods. The chart below from is a advantageous guide for food in the fridge.

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How to make leftover food last longer

If you want your leftovers to last longer, frozen them. Just be certain to store track of how long you had actually it in the fridge prior to you put it in the freezer. Freezing stop bacterial development in its tracks choose a automobile at a red light. As soon as you thaw your food, however, the light transforms green and also bacterial growth continues from wherein it left off. So, according to the chart below, steak that remained in the refrigerator for 3 days prior to it was frozen will certainly be an excellent for 1 to 2 days after the is thawed. Remember that frozen foods items are for sure indefinitely, therefore the following guidelines because that freezer food refer to food quality, not safety.

Check out our graph to see if there’s any food in your fridge or freezer that needs to it is in thrown out.

CategoryFoodRefrigerator(40 °F or below)Freezer(0 °F or below)
SaladsEgg, chicken, ham, tuna, & macaroni salads3 to 5 daysDoes no freeze well
Hot dogsOpened package1 week1 to 2 months
Unopened package2 weeks1 to 2 months
Lunch meatOpened package or deli sliced3 come 5 days1 to 2 months
Unopened package2 weeks1 come 2 months
Bacon & sausageRaw bacon7 days1 month
Raw sausage made from chicken, turkey, pork, or beef1 to 2 days1 to 2 months
Hamburger & various other ground meatsRaw hamburger, floor beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixture of them1 come 2 days3 come 4 months
Raw beef, veal, lamb, & porkSteaks3 come 5 days6 come 12 months
Chops3 to 5 days4 to 6 months
Roasts3 to 5 days4 come 12 months
Raw poultryChicken or turkey, whole1 to 2 days1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces1 to 2 days9 months
Soups & StewsVegetable or meat added3 to 4 days2 come 3 months
LeftoversCooked meat or poultry3 come 4 days2 come 6 months
Chicken nuggets or patties3 to 4 days1 to 3 months
Pizza3 to 4 days1 come 2 months

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Learn about this and an ext in the Food Handler Course.

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— Suzanna Sandridge

Editor’s note: This post was initially published in January 2014 and has been updated because that freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.