You ordered Chinese takeout Tuesday night. Have the right to you still eat the for lunch on Friday? and the leftover pizza that"s been in the refrigerator for nearly five days -- is the still for sure to eat?

(AP Photo/Matthew Mead) Leftover pizza have the right to be a great meal, yet make sure you don"t keep it in her fridge too long.

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These space recurring questions: execute we threat tossing the end food that"s perfectly for sure to eat, or carry out we role the dice v foodborne illness?

The USDA has certain guidelines on just how long to keep various species of foods, however sifting through the details have the right to be a cumbersome job when faced with the pushing question of "keep the or toss it?" So ns was happy to run across, a website that has actually done the job-related for us. It has compiled details from federal government agencies and nonprofit teams that study food storage and safety, and it additionally provides information directly from manufacturers about optimal storage conditions for specific products.

And, according to the experts, it transforms out that we could not constantly need to be so beholden to that date stamped ~ above the package after ~ all.

Here"s their rundown on what those days really mean, and also just how much we can press ours luck as soon as it involves some that the most frequently asked-about foods.

"Use by, " "best by, " "best before" and "best if offered by" dates don"t suggest whether a product is safe; they"re detailed by manufacturers to indicate just how long an item is expected to remain at optimal quality. As long as a product been effectively stored, however, it"s normally going to it is in fine to consume past the date. Yet use your an excellent judgment: If there is any adjust in smell or appearance, that should more than likely be tossed out.

The "sell by" day is a guide for shop to know just how long castle can display screen perishables such together milk, cheese and meat. Again, the sell-by date isn"t a safety and security date. Friend can frequently still use the product previous the sell-by date, as lengthy as it"s been appropriately stored.

The complying with are shelf-life times because that a selection of foods. Note that every assume a room temperature of 60 to 70 levels Fahrenheit for pantry storage, a frozen refrigerator temperature that 35 to 40 degrees, and also a freezer temperature of 0 degrees or lower. Freezer times are for "best quality" only, because food maintained constantly frozen in ~ 0 levels or below will be safe indefinitely. Taste, however, is one more story.


For finest quality, usage raw egg within 3 to five weeks after purchase. The "sell-by" date will likely expire throughout that time, but the eggs still have to be safe.

While egg in the shell don"t freeze well (they can expand and also cause the shells come break, add to the yolks obtain thick and also syrupy and also don"t circulation like a continual yolk once thawed), you deserve to freeze raw egg for up to a year by cracked them open first. Mix with each other the yolks and the whites, then add either fifty percent a tespoon of salt or one tablespoon the sugar for every cup of life egg (depending on whether you setup to usage the eggs for savory or sweet dishes later). Store in one air-tight container.

Egg Beaters (or any form of egg white skin - man purchased in a carton) will certainly last about 10 days unopened in the fridge, and also three job after opening. Freeze them, unopened, for around a year.

As because that hardboiled eggs, they"ll stay an excellent in the fridge for approximately a week, but they don"t freeze well.


Aged cheeses prefer Asiago or Parmesan last up to a year whether opened up or unopened. ~ opening, wrap castle in wax file and cover through plastic wrap. If the surface starts to mold, the USDA"s food safety and security guidelines say to reduced away an customs around and also below the spot, climate re-wrap. Cheeses prefer Swiss and cheddar will last three to 4 weeks after opened (or after ~ purchasing sliced indigenous the deli counter), but softer cheeses prefer Brie or Camembert critical just about a week, whether opened up or not.

Milk and yogurt

Regular pasteurized milk deserve to last approximately a week previous the "sell by" date, while milk that has been ultra-pasteurized (ultra high-temperature pasteurization is often used for organic milk or milk that"s offered unrefrigerated), may last as lengthy as 6 months unopened, and also up come a main after opening. (I"ve noticed, however, that organic milk frequently stays good for 2 to 3 weeks ~ opening.)

Yogurt is for sure to eat at least seven to 10 days previous the day (again, I"ve pressed my luck by one extra couple of weeks through Greek yogurt, and also it"s been fine).

Deli meat

Cold cuts like sliced turkey, chicken or roast beef will last 3 to five days after opened (or after ~ purchasing indigenous the deli counter), when unopened vacuum-sealed packages the deli meat will frequently stay good for a week past the "use by" date.

Meat, fish and also poultry

Raw poultry, seafood and also ground beef will save in the refrigerator for one to two days, while uncooked beef, lamb or pork (think roast, chops, and steaks) will certainly last three to 5 days. Cook meat, fish and poultry need to be consumed (or frozen) within three to 4 days, so that also method just three to 4 days of fridge time for favorites like jambalaya, gumbo and also crawfish etouffee. While raw bacon lasts much longer than other raw meat (two weeks after purchase if unopened and seven job after opening), cooked bacon likewise lasts simply three to 4 days in the refrigerator.


Ketchup and mustard don"t have to be refrigerated after opened -- they"ll be fine for a month or so at room temperature. However they have the right to last much much longer -- around 6 months because that ketchup and at the very least a year because that mustard -- once stored in the fridge.

Once opened, mayonnaise is "best used" 2 to 3 months ~ the date on the package. After ~ that, the will normally be safe if it"s been continually refrigerated, return the texture and flavor might change.

As for mayonnaise-based salads and dips (egg salad, potato salad, spinach dip), we shouldn"t press them past three or four days.


Sliced bread (white or entirety wheat) must be an excellent for in ~ least 5 to seven days, whether opened or not, as lengthy as it"s maintained tightly close up door in the initial wrapper and also stored at room temperature.


Fresh blueberries will certainly last a week or two in the fridge, and 10 to 12 months in the freezer. No the case with various other berries, though: Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries commonly last just two to three days in the frozen fridge (but, like blueberries, they"ll stay great in the freezer because that 10 to 12 months).

Salad dressing

Salad dressing that"s marketed unrefrigerated will certainly last unopened because that 12 to 18 months. After opening, it will certainly still be good for six to ripe months, as long as it"s been repeatedly refrigerated. And also salad dressings offered in the refrigerated ar will be good for 6 months, or until the date on the bottle, as lengthy as they"re save in the fridge at home.

And together for that leftover pizza or Chinese takeout? Both are safe to eat after 3 to 4 days in the fridge, however toss "em if they do it come day five.

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Molly Kimball is a registered dietitian in brand-new Orleans. Her column shows up every Friday in Living and her nutrition video blog appears every Tuesday ~ above She can be reached at eatingright