Food Storage

The Consumer’s Role in Food Storage
By following the guidelines listed below, consumers can get the maximum shelf life for food purchases.

  1. Know the basic facts about properly storing food.
  2. Purchase “fresh” items; check for a freshness date on the package.
  3. Check the food package label for special instructions on holding and storing the product.
  4. Buy only what is needed and can be used in a reasonable time.
  5. Use perishable foods within one or two days. Milk, cheese, and eggs keep safe for a week or longer.
  6. Rotate frozen and canned products so that older packages are used before recently purchased ones.
  7. Check products for staleness, off-quality, and spoilage regardless of when it was purchased.

How Long Can Food be Stored?
Food needs to be stored properly for safety’s sake as well as to reduce dollars wasted on spoiled food that must be discarded. All perishable foods require refrigeration or freezing storage conditions to obtain the longest shelf-life possible.

What happens when foods are not stored properly? Depending on the food, there may be:

The following set of links to specific charts provide cupboard, refrigerator, and freezer storage times for various foods.

For a printer-friendly version of the Canned and Dry Foods Storage chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

For a printer-friendly version of the Refrigerator Storage chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

For a printer-friendly version of the Freezer Storage chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

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