Food Storage

Posted: November 5, 2012

How long is it safe to store food?  Guidelines have been developed for consumers to follow...

Canned and packaged foods that are commercially sold have ‘best before’ dates labeled on them, but consumers should be aware that these foods can be used after the expiration dates. The quality of the food may be different than if used before the ‘best before’ date, such as color and texture, and sometimes the nutritional content.

Spoilage will occur more in fresh foods and will have a decrease in quality.  Browning, fuzz, or softness are all signs of spoilage in fresh foods. Spoilage signs may not be obvious to the general consumer, such as  slimy meat, even if an odor has not begun to present itself, bacteria has started to grow.

Store meat, fish, and poultry on the lowest shelf in containers or their original wrappings in order to keep the drippings from contaminating produce. Immediately put perishable fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.

Bread: 5-7 days in the pantry           
Pasta: 2 years in the pantry, in a tightly closed container
Oil: 3 months in the pantry
Peanut Butter: 6 months in the pantry
Vegetables: Most can last 1 week in the refrigerator
Fruits: Most are until ripe or 5 days in the refrigerator
Meats: Most are 3-5 days if cooked and stored in refrigerator
Rotate foods both in the pantry, your refrigerator, and freezer.
When in doubt, throw it out!

Information brought to you from the Store-It Foods website and the Virginia Cooperative Extension from the Virginia State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.