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:
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.)
Barbecue sauce: 4 months
Ketchup: 6 months
Maple syrup: indefinite
Mayonnaise: 2-3 months after the “sell by” date
Mustard: 1 year
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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