Do you keep "past due" foods in your refrigerator? You wouldn't be alone. A study from the Home Food Safety website shows that more than 40 percent of people either have never cleaned their refrigerators, or can't remember the last they did.
Past due foods can lose their taste, give off bad odors, and/or make you ill -- just a few of the reasons to remain vigilant about your refrigerator's perishable foods.
Still nursing that ketchup from last Labor Day's grill out? Put it in the trash. Storing canned vegetables that you bought last year? Get rid of them today.
Watching that freezer burn develop on some of your cold-storage foods? Pitch them in the garbage.
There's very little good that comes from eating food that's been damaged, spoiled, or left to rot slowly. That's one of the reasons why FoodSafety.gov has created its "Storage Times For Refrigerator And Freezer" chart. Listed by food category, it tells you how long a particular food type can remain "safe" in your refrigerator, and in your freezer.
A sampling of the foods, plus their recommended maximum storage times, includes :
- Deli-sliced luncheon meat : 5 days in the refrigerator; 2 months in the freezer
- Hamburger meat : 5 days in the refrigerator; 2 months in the freezer
- Leftover pizza : 4 days in the refrigerator; 2 months in the freezer
In all, the list contains recommendations for nearly two dozen common foods.
In addition, the FoodSafety.gov website maintains a separate safety information section for egg and egg-based products. Egg storage safety is important because more than 400 people contract salmonella each month nationwide.
From scrambled eggs and pies, to quiches and egg-yolk substitutes, you'll know how long to keep your food, and how long until you should throw it out.
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