Let it go: A guide for when to toss the food in your fridge

Woman looking in refrigerator

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD ) — Deciding when to throw out the old food in your fridge can be tricky!  Opinions tend to differ and many people base their decisions on habits versus the facts.  So we turned to the Food and Drug Administration to find out the rules on when to keep it and when to toss it.  Here’s the top three things we learned.

1. There’s an app for that!

That’s right.  Not sure if something in your fridge is ok to keep?  The free Feedkeeper Mobile App is a perfect way to find out in a snap.  It’s organized by categories and makes finding your item quick and easy.

2. Freezer foods don’t go bad but can taste bad

According to the FDA, “Food poisoning bacteria does not grow in the freezer, so no matter how long a food is frozen, it is safe to eat. Foods that have been in the freezer for months (recommended freezer times chart) may be dry, or may not taste as good, but they will be safe to eat.”

3. 2-hour time limit to get groceries put away

The FDA recommends that you get your groceries into the fridge within two hours.  That means if you’ve got a long list of errands to run, save your groceries for last!  If it’s a hot day (90 degrees or more) then you’ll want to get food in the fridge within one-hour.

FRIDGE FACTS: Common items keep vs. trash

We went through a list of common items that may come in to question. Remember that jar of pickles from last summer?  Or that 3 day old raw chicken that you were supposed to make on Monday night but ordered pizza instead.  Here’s what the FDA Foodkeeper App says about how long things really last.

Dairy

milk and eggs

*all items have this life in the refrigerator IF they are refrigerated from the date of purchase

Butter: 1-2 months

Cheese (shredded): 1 month

Cheese (processed slices): 3-4 weeks

Coffee creamer: 3 weeks

Cottage cheese: 1 week

Cream cheese: 2 weeks

Eggs:  3-5 weeks

Milk: 1 week

Yogurt: 1-2 weeks

Meats (raw & cooked)

woman checks fridge meat

*all items have this life in the refrigerator IF they are refrigerated from the date of purchase

Deli lunch meat:  3-5 days after opening.  *If unopened 2 weeks from date of purchase.

Meat leftovers: 3 days

Raw ground beef: 1-2 days

Raw ground turkey or chicken: 1-2 days

Raw poultry: 1-2 days

Rotisserie chicken: 3-4 days

Soups & Stews: 3 days

Condiments

open fridge generic 030716

*all items have this life in the refrigerator IF they are refrigerated from the date of purchase

Ketchup/cocktail or chili sauce: 6 months

mayonnaise: 2 months after opening

Mustard: 1 year after opening

Pickles: 1-3 months after opening

Salad dressing: 1-3 months after opening

Soy soy: 1 month

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