Avoid food poisoning – How long can you keep food, drinks in your fridge


Avoid food poisoning – How long can you keep food, drinks in your fridge

That plate of pasta you made five days ago may not be safe to consume today, even though you stored it in the fridge.

In fact, it may be your ticket to the doctor if you have a sensitive stomach.

It is a common misconception that as long as food is stored in a refrigerator it will be safe to eat for an indefinite amount of time.

A few weeks ago, a colleague at work fell ill and had to leave the office in a huff to go to the hospital. The diagnosis… Food poisoning.

That diagnosis sent the office into a frenzy because we all thought he acquired the bug from food served at a nearby eatery frequented by most colleagues for lunch.

Within days, the long queues at the cafe grew shorter while the number of hungry staff in the office increased tenfold.

He later dispelled our fears when he revealed that the bug was acquired through food that had been in the refrigerator for a long period of time.

This got me thinking, how long can different types of food stay fresh in the fridge, and how often do we misinterpret the “sell by” date?

We consulted Stilltasty.com, a website that uses US government sources like the USDA, the FDA, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and food manufacturers to compile information on how long common foods should stay in the refrigerator before they are unsafe for consumption.

Here’s how long your favourite foods and drinks can stay fresh in the fridge:

Alcohol

Beer: 1 day if kept tightly covered

Champagne: 3-5 days (The champagne may go flat before then, but it will still be safe to consume.)

Wine, red and white: 3-5 days (Take red wines out of the fridge an hour before serving to bring it back to room temperature.)

Condiments

Barbecue sauce: 4 months

Ketchup: 6 months

Maple syrup: indefinite

Mayonnaise: 2-3 months after the “sell by” date

Mustard: 1 year

Dairy

Brie cheese, sold in wrapped wedge: 1 week

Cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced, commercially packaged: 5-7 days

Dip, dairy-based: 1 week

Eggs: 3-5 weeks

Milk: 1 week after the “sell by” date

Mozzarella cheese, fresh, high moisture: 2 weeks

Parmesan cheese, commercially grated and packaged: 3 months after the “sell by” date

Yoghurt: 7-10 days after the “sell by” date

Fruits and Vegetables

Apples: 3-4 weeks

Avocados, cut: 2-3 days (To avoid browning, squeeze a few drops of lemon or lime into the flesh and tightly wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.)

Broccoli: 3-5 days

Carrots: 2-3 weeks

Grapes: 5-7 days (To avoid added moisture, don’t wash the grapes until you’re ready to consume them.)

Lettuce in bag: 3-5 days

Orange juice: 7-10 days

Peaches: 3-5 days once ripe

Strawberries: 2-3 days

Meat and Poultry

Bacon: 1 week

Beef, lamb, pork, and veal: 3-5 days

Ground beef and ground turkey, fresh, cooked: 3-4 days

Ground beef and ground turkey, fresh, raw: 1-2 days

Poultry, cooked: 3-4 days

Poultry, raw: 1-2 days

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Story By Lisa Kamau
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