Safety Tips on Food Refrigeration: How Long Does Food Stay Safe?

How Do You Determine if Your Food is Fresh?

Everybody has their own opinion and comfort level when it comes to food safety and refrigeration. Are you the person that throws away the milk at 12:01am on the expiration date or do you use the smell test to determine whether your milk is safe to drink?

It’s time to put an end to your questions about the freshness and safety of some common foods you put in the refrigerator. Take this quiz to find out if you’ve been wasting money by throwing away good food or if you’ve been rescuing yourself from food poisoning.The answers are at the bottom of the page. No cheating!

Don’t Rely Solely on the Date on the Package

According to the USDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the dates on food packages "aren’t a safe guide for use of a product". Keep in mind that the following storage times are for refrigeration at 40 degrees F (4 degrees C). The USDA Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart does say that freezing foods at zero degrees F (-18 degrees C) "keeps food safe indefinitely".

#1 Mayonnaise

After opening and refrigerating, how long does commercial mayonnaise remain safe to eat?

A. 1 month

B. 2 months

C. 6 months

#2 Lunchmeat

After opening and refrigerating, how long does lunch meat remain safe to eat?

A. 1 to 3 days

B. 3 to 5 days

C. 5 to 7 days

#3 Cooked Fish

How long does cooked fish stay fresh and safe to eat after refrigeration?

A. 1 to 2 days

B. 3 to 4 days

C. 4 to 5 days

#4 Hard Cooked Egg

How long will a hard cooked egg stay fresh in the refrigerator?

A. 2 to 3 days

B. 3 to 5 days

C. 1 week

#5 Summer Sausage

How long does opened summer sausage labeled "keep refrigerated" stay fresh?

A. 3 to 5 days

B. 2 weeks

C. 3 weeks

Food Safety Quiz Key

1. Mayonnaise stays fresh for 2 months after opening and refrigerating.

2. Lunchmeat stays fresh for 3 to 5 days after opening and refrigerating.

3. Cooked fish stays fresh for 3 to 4 days when refrigerated.

4. A hard cooked egg will stay safe and fresh for 1 week when refrigerated.

5. An opened package of summer sausage will stay fresh for 3 whole weeks when refrigerated.

Did You Pass the Quiz?

So how did you do on the food safety and storage quiz? If you didn’t pass it, don’t worry. You can visit the link below to the USDA Refrigerator and Freezer storage chart to learn more about food safety and storage so you can avoid foodborne illness.

Resources

USDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition- Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart