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When Do Foods Expire in the Fridge? By Nadia Al-Samarrie

Recently I was watching a television show where a member of the audience was selected to guess how long certain foods can stay in the refrigerator before going bad. As I answered the questions silently in my head, I was surprised as to how long some foods, like eggs, can stay refrigerated.

If you have ever wondered if you were throwing out good food or possibly eating spoiled food, the chart below should offer some clarification.

The United States Department of Agriculture, also known as the USDA, recommends for the various meats, eggs and deli items. The suggested time is for both cooked and uncooked foods. You can find this chart and additional charts on

Ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb:

~ Ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb- 1-2 days
~ Stew meats- 1-2 days

Fresh Meat (Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Pork):

~ Steaks, chops, roasts- 3-5 days
~ Variety meats (Tongue, kidneys, liver, heart, chitterlings)- 1-2 days

Fresh Poultry:

~ Chicken or turkey, whole- 1-2 days
~ Chicken or turkey, parts- 1-2 days
~ Giblets- 1-2 days

Bacon and Sausage:

~ Bacon- 7 days
~ Sausage, raw from meat or poultry- 1-2 days
~ Smoked breakfast links, patties- 7 days

Summer sausage labeled “Keep Refrigerated”
Unopened, 3 months;
Opened, 3 weeks

~ Hard sausage (such as Pepperoni)- 2-3 weeks

Ham, Corned Beef:

Ham, canned, labeled “Keep Refrigerated”
Unopened, 6-9 months;
Opened, 3-5 days

~ Ham, fully cooked, whole- 7 days
~ Ham, fully cooked, half- 3-5 days
~ Ham, fully cooked, slices- 3-4 days
~ Corned beef in pouch with pickling juices- 5-7 days

Hot Dogs and Luncheon Meats- Deli
Vacuum Packed Products:

Hot dogs Unopened package, 2 weeks;
Opened package, 1 week

Luncheon meats
Unopened package, 2 weeks;
Opened package, 3-5 days

~ Store-prepared (or homemade) egg, chicken, tuna, ham, and ~ macaroni salads- 3-5 days
~ Pre-stuffed pork, lamb chops, and chicken breasts- 1 day
~ Store-cooked dinners and entrees- 3-4 days
~ Commercial brand vacuum-packed dinners with/USDA seal, unopened- 2 weeks

Cooked Meat, Poultry, and Fish Leftovers:

~ Pieces and cooked casseroles- 3-4 days
~ Gravy and broth, patties, and nuggets- 3-4 days
~ Soups and Stews- 3-4 days

Fresh Fish and Shellfish:

~ Fresh Fish and Shellfish- 1-2 days


~ Fresh, in shell- 3-5 weeks
~ Raw yolks, whites- 2-4 days
~ Hard-cooked- 1 week

~ Liquid pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes
Unopened, 10 days;
Opened, 3 days

~ Cooked egg dishes- 3-4 days

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