How Long Will the Food in My Fridge Last?

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
How Long Will the Food in My Fridge Last?

Find out how long different foods stay good in the fridge.

Image Credit: YouBeauty

Milk

Milk is typically safe for two to three days after the "use by" date. Keep it in the back of the fridge, where temperatures are usually coldest.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Butter

Butter will keep for two to three weeks after purchase.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Margarine

Margarine will last for four to six months after purchase.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Eggs

Eggs are safe for three to five weeks after purchase. Keep them in the back of the fridge, where temperatures are typically coldest, rather than in the door.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Chicken, Ground Meat & Ground Poultry

Chicken, ground meat and ground poultry will last for one to two days after purchase.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Pre-Cooked Poultry

Pre-cooked poultry should keep for three to four days.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Fish

Fish will last one to two days in the refrigerator after purchase.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Lunch Meat

Lunch meat is safe for two to three weeks when it remains unopened. Use within three to four days after opening.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Dry Pasta

Dry pasta will last for one to two years after purchase.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Canned Fruits & Vegetables

Canned fruits and vegetables will last indefinitely. However, that rule goes out the window if they're exposed to freezing temperatures or temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. And be wary of damaged, dented or rusty packaging.

Image Credit: Getty Images

And for all other foods, read on to find out what expiration date stickers really mean.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Sell By

"Sell By" indicates how long a store should display a product on its shelves. Foods are still safe to eat several days after this date if you store them properly.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Expires

"Expires" is the only packaging date related to food safety. If this date has passed, throw the food out.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Use By

"Use By" is the last date for peak quality. After this date, taste, texture and quality may go downhill. It does not refer to food safety.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Best If Used By

The product will be freshest and have the best taste and texture if you eat it by this date. It does not refer to food safety.

Image Credit: Getty Images

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

You're not alone if you've stood in your kitchen holding a container of milk or a package of chicken breasts and weren't sure whether you should toss them or eat them. That's because it's not always so obvious what the difference is between the various expiration dates—from "sell by" to "best if used by."

Federal law does not require food dating in most cases, but 20 states do have laws about dates. In many cases, manufacturers add dates voluntarily. Perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy usually get dates. But they're not always about spoilage; some simply inform retailers when products are at their best for freshness, taste and texture.

Check out the slideshow above to learn how long food in the fridge lasts and what common expiration labels mean. Also, to clear up the confusion and help you avoid consuming tainted foods that can make you sick, we've decoded common expiration dates in this handy chart. Pin it and pass it on to educate your friends about food safety!

Food Safety Guide

5 Green Smoothie Recipes for Glowing Skin
Super-Easy Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata
12-Minute Grilled Chicken With Herbs de Provence

Read Full Story

People are Reading

Search Recipes