You notified Chinese takeout Tuesday night. Deserve to you quiet eat it for lunch on Friday? and the leftover pizza that"s remained in the fridge for practically five days -- is that still for sure to eat?

(AP Photo/Matthew Mead) Leftover pizza can be a great meal, but make certain you don"t save it in your fridge as well long.

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These space recurring questions: do we risk tossing the end food that"s perfectly safe to eat, or execute we role the dice v foodborne illness?

The USDA has details guidelines on exactly how long to store various types of foods, but sifting with the details have the right to be a cumbersome job when challenged with the pressing question the "keep the or toss it?" So i was happy come run throughout, a website that has actually done the work for us. It has actually compiled information from government agencies and nonprofit teams that research food storage and safety, and also it likewise provides information straight from manufacturers regarding optimal storage problems for details products.

And, follow to the experts, it transforms out the we can not constantly need to it is in so beholden come that date stamped top top the package after ~ all.

Here"s their rundown on what those dates really mean, and just how far we can press ours luck as soon as it concerns some the the most commonly asked-about foods.

"Use by, " "best by, " "best before" and also "best if offered by" dates don"t suggest whether a product is safe; they"re detailed by manufacturers to indicate how long things is supposed to remain at top quality. As lengthy as a product been correctly stored, however, it"s normally going to be fine come consume past the date. But use your good judgment: If over there is any readjust in smell or appearance, it should most likely be tossed out.

The "sell by" date is a guide for shop to know how long lock can display screen perishables such together milk, cheese and meat. Again, the sell-by day isn"t a safety date. Friend can often still usage the product past the sell-by date, as long as it"s been appropriately stored.

The complying with are shelf-life times for a variety of foods. Note that every assume a room temperature of 60 come 70 degrees Fahrenheit for pantry storage, a refrigerator temperature of 35 come 40 degrees, and a freezer temperature of 0 degrees or lower. Freezer times are for "best quality" only, because food kept constantly frozen at 0 levels or below will be safe indefinitely. Taste, however, is an additional story.


For best quality, usage raw eggs within three to five weeks after ~ purchase. The "sell-by" day will most likely expire during that time, however the eggs still have to be safe.

While egg in the shell don"t freeze fine (they can expand and cause the shells to break, to add the yolks obtain thick and also syrupy and don"t flow like a constant yolk as soon as thawed), you have the right to freeze raw eggs for approximately a year by cracked them open first. Mix with each other the yolks and also the whites, then include either half 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). Save in an air-tight container.

Egg Beaters (or any kind of egg whites purchased in a carton) will certainly last about 10 work unopened in the fridge, and also three job after opening. Freeze them, unopened, for about a year.

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


Aged cheeses like Asiago or Parmesan last as much as a year whether opened or unopened. After ~ opening, wrap lock in wax file and cover v plastic wrap. If the surface begins to mold, the USDA"s food safety and security guidelines to speak to reduced away an customs around and also below the spot, climate re-wrap. Cheeses prefer Swiss and also cheddar will last three to four weeks after opening (or after purchasing sliced native the deli counter), but softer cheeses choose Brie or Camembert critical just around a week, whether opened up or not.

Milk and also yogurt

Regular pasteurized milk deserve to last up to a week previous the "sell by" date, if milk that has been ultra-pasteurized (ultra high-temperature pasteurization is frequently used because that organic milk or milk that"s sold unrefrigerated), might last as long as six months unopened, and up come a week after opening. (I"ve noticed, however, that organic milk frequently stays an excellent for two to 3 weeks after ~ opening.)

Yogurt is for sure to eat at least seven come 10 days past the date (again, I"ve pressed my luck by an extra few weeks with Greek yogurt, and also it"s been fine).

Deli meat

Cold cuts favor sliced turkey, chicken or roast beef will certainly last 3 to 5 days after opening (or after purchasing indigenous the deli counter), if unopened vacuum-sealed packages the deli meat will generally stay an excellent for a week past the "use by" date.

Meat, fish and poultry

Raw poultry, seafood and also ground beef will store in the refrigerator for one to 2 days, if uncooked beef, lamb or pork (think roast, chops, and steaks) will last three to 5 days. Cook meat, fish and also poultry must be consumed (or frozen) within 3 to 4 days, so that also method just 3 to 4 days of refrigerator time because that favorites favor jambalaya, gumbo and crawfish etouffee. While life bacon lasts much longer than various other raw meats (two main after acquisition if unopened and seven work after opening), cooking bacon additionally lasts simply three to 4 days in the refrigerator.


Ketchup and also mustard don"t have to be refrigerated after opening -- they"ll be fine for a month or so at room temperature. Yet they can last much longer -- about 6 months for ketchup and also at least a year because that mustard -- when stored in the fridge.

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

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


Sliced bread (white or whole wheat) should be good for at least 5 to seven days, whether opened up or not, as long as it"s preserved tightly closed in the original wrapper and stored at room temperature.


Fresh blueberries will last a main or two in the fridge, and also 10 to 12 month in the freezer. Not the situation with various other berries, though: Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries generally last simply two to three days in the refrigerator (but, choose blueberries, they"ll stay good in the freezer for 10 to 12 months).

Salad dressing

Salad dressing that"s offered unrefrigerated will certainly last unopened for 12 come 18 months. ~ opening, it will still be good for 6 to nine months, as lengthy as it"s been repetitively refrigerated. And also salad dressings offered in the refrigerated ar will be good for 6 months, or till the date on the bottle, as long as they"re stored in the fridge at home.

And as for the leftover pizza or Chinese takeout? Both are safe to eat after three to four days in the fridge, yet toss "em if they do it to 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 clip blog appears every Tuesday on She have the right to be reached at eatingright