Medically the evaluation by Natalie Butler, R.D., L.D. — composed by Jenny Splitter — to update on July 31, 2020

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As the lengthy days the summer arrive, you could imagine yourself transporting overflowing platters of warm dogs and juicy burgers at the next big family cookout.

And summer is a time because that relaxation and also time v loved ones. However with increasing temperatures and also outdoor gatherings lasting from morning to night, it’s certainly not a time come relax those important, science-based safety standards for food.

Each year, 48 million human being fall ailing from food poisoning, whether in a restaurant or in their very own home, approximates the Centers for disease Control and Prevention.

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It’s not entirely clear how plenty of of these cases occur in the residence specifically. Researcher say it might be all over as low together 12 percent to together high together 80 percent. But no matter the statistic, it’s approximately you to safely store and handle her food in ~ home.

According to the U.S. Room of agriculture (USDA) guidelines for refrigeration and also food safety, there space two type of bacteria the can flourish on your food:

Pathogenic bacteria. this are specifically dangerous as they cause foodborne illness. They flourish rapidly in unrefrigerated foods and can’t commonly be recognize by just how a food looks, tastes, or smells. Spoilage bacteria. these develop and also grow together food spoils. Castle do readjust the taste, look, and also smell of your food. However, they’re far less likely to in reality make girlfriend sick.

In either case, complying with the rules of safe food warehouse will help keep the food girlfriend eat both delicious and safe.

So, if you’ve been wondering just how long you can keep the steak in the refrigerator or even if it is that have the right to of tuna in her cabinet is still great enough for her casserole, we’ve obtained you covered. From freezer and fridge come canned foods in the cupboard, we’ve outlined the rule for for sure food storage of beef, pork, poultry, and also fish, all over time for her next set of leftovers.

Whatever the meat — beef, chicken, pork, or fish — there’s no question around it: You have the right to safely store your food the longest in the freezer. That’s due to the fact that you can safely freeze meats indefinitely.

According to USDA indict on freezing and also food safety, freeze these foodstuffs to 0°F (-18°C) inactivates microbes like bacteria, yeasts, and also mold and slows enzyme task — all of the stuff the can cause your food to walk bad.

The good news is no an elaborate vacuum sealer is required to safely freeze meat. However, sealing the end moisture absolutely does help keep these foods items tasting new for longer when you eventually defrost and cook them.

So if you deserve to safely store these foods in their initial packaging, the USDA recommends the you include another class of plastic plunder or foil before plunging your meats right into the frozen abyss. The extra class will help keep out moisture and also keep those foods items tasting fresh. Freeze meats when they’re together fresh as possible also helps preserve taste and nutrients.

You can also safely refreeze thawed meats the you don’t finish up cooking. This assumes you s them properly to start with (more on the later).

According to USDA guidelines, however, don’t refreeze foods left exterior the refrigerator for longer than two hrs or one hour in temperatures above 90°F (32°C).

Despite her freezer’s volume to store meats and also fish because that a millennium, you most likely shouldn’t store these foodstuffs in your freezer for fairly that lengthy (unless you enjoy eating meat the tastes of shoes leather). Freezing her uncooked meats and fish is a safe practice, yet at some point, it’s no much longer a tasty one. It’s important to take into consideration the U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDA) and also USDA encourage time borders for freezing cut of meat and also seafood.

Whether you monitor those time boundaries or save these foods frozen for lot longer, the freezer will always be her safest bet. Life meats and fish will constantly last longer in the freezer 보다 they execute in the fridge.

In enhancement to food warehouse guidelines, it’s just as necessary that girlfriend take treatment in defrosting these foodstuffs once you take them out of the freezer. USDA guidelines on for sure defrosting say you must only thaw frozen meat in the fridge or in a leakproof plastic bag submerged in cold water. That’s since defrosting those foods items at room temperature permits bacteria to grow too rapidly.

And as you defrost those frosty meats in the fridge, you additionally want come make sure they nothing drip on noþeles else together they thaw out. The same goes because that marinating life meat in the fridge. Place the meat in a extended dish to avoid spilling.

Beyond the freezer, box meats and also fish likewise offer you a very long warehouse life: between two and five years. This presume you keep these foods in suitable conditions.

Your options for box meats and also fish are more minimal than what you deserve to store in her freezer or fridge, however. This is because canned meats and fish have tendency to come in a very certain format, favor Spam, a tin of anchovies, or box tuna fish.

Canning involves a different procedure to store your food safe and unspoiled. The food is cook to death bacteria then vacuum sealed to create a sterile environment and also prohibit new bacteria growth.

There space very few examples where the fridge is your finest storage option over your freezer or canned foodstuffs in your cupboard, but these examples do exist. The FDA proposal you skip freezing ready meats that have been stuffed, for instance, and only refrigerate those before cooking.

Also, the USDA claims mayonnaise, cream sauces, and lettuces nothing freeze well. Don’t freeze these foods items or any type of meats that have actually been prepared with them.


When it involves most uncooked cut of beef, you can freeze lock for numerous months there is no sacrificing quality.

According come the FDA, you have the right to keep cuts, choose roasts, frozen for everywhere from 4 to 12 months and also steaks for 6 come 12 months. Ground beef must be frozen for no more than 3 to four months.

Once cooked, you can also safely freeze those beefy leftovers. However the FDA proposal you save these frozen because that only around two to three months. Again, this is purely a issue of quality. Meat have the right to be kept much longer in the freezer than these indict espouse. However at the point, you may begin to sacrifice quality.


If you desire to frozen a whole chicken or turkey, the great news is the frozen poultry have the right to keep for up to one year there is no sacrificing much quality. The FDA says chicken components like thighs, breasts, or wings store well for up to nine months, but giblets must be kept no much longer than 3 to four months. Floor chicken should probably be kept for no much longer than 3 to four months as well.


For uncooked pork, freezer guidelines are comparable to beef. Roasts can be kept frozen for between 4 and also 12 months. Chops space OK in the freezer for four to 6 months.

For cooked cuts of pork, the FDA proposal you store these frozen for just two to three months to maximize quality.

When it involves smoked and also processed pork choose ham, hot dogs, bacon, and also lunch meats, the FDA recommends you just freeze these foods for one to 2 months.


Recommendations because that freezing seafood room a bit much more complicated. Lean fish like catfish or cod have the right to be preserved frozen for 6 to eight months. Fatty fish favor salmon have to be preserved frozen for just two to 3 months.

Shellfish favor shrimp and other seafood favor scallops have the right to be maintained frozen for three to 6 months. Cook fish have to be kept frozen for no longer than 4 to 6 months. And also smoked fish must only be retained frozen for 2 months before sacrificing taste.


Most uncooked meat, nevertheless of cut, have the right to be save on computer in the fridge for three to five days. However there are certainly exceptions. Ground meat and also offal like liver and kidneys need to only be preserved in the refrigerator for one to 2 days. Leftovers containing cooked meat need to be retained for no longer than three to 4 days before tossing.


Raw poultry, whether whole, components like breasts or thighs, or floor giblets or meat, can only be maintained for one to two days in the fridge. But, as soon as cooked, you gain a little of one extension. The FDA claims you can keep cook poultry in the fridge for three to 4 days.


Fresh, uncooked pork have the right to be refrigerated about as long as other meats: 3 to 5 days. This is nevertheless of even if it is it’s a roast or pork chops. Life ground pork should likewise only be retained in the fridge for one to two days. As soon as cooked, pork dishes have to be maintained for two to three days in the fridge before tossing.

The guidelines are various for handle pork products. Unopened packages of warm dogs and lunch meat have the right to be retained for two weeks. Once those packages are opened, just keep hot dogs for a week and also luncheon meat for three to 5 days.

Only save bacon for seven days. The same goes because that a whole, cooking ham. Yet for half a ham, you have the right to refrigerate that for 3 to five days. Ham slices deserve to be retained in the refrigerator for 3 to four days.


Lean or fatty fish and also shellfish can only be refrigerated because that one to 2 days prior to needing come toss. You can keep cooking fish leftovers for 3 to four days. Exhilaration fish, ~ above the other hand, can be kept longer. You can safely refrigerate it for 14 days. As soon as opened, canned fish prefer tuna deserve to be safely refrigerated for three to four days.

In the civilization of safe food storage, crate food is a genuine boon. That provides plenty of affordable and also long-lasting options. According to USDA guidelines, you can keep crate food for two to 5 years, even if it is it’s fish, poultry, pork, or beef.

Commercially canned food is inserted in a sterile, vacuum-sealed container and also heat processed at 250°F (121°C). This procedure kills microorganisms, halts enzymes from forming, and prevents new bacteria native entering the save food.

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Things can, however, go wrong. Occasionally canned food deserve to be damaged throughout the manufacturing procedure or become badly rusted. If your canned food is greatly rusted or damaged, you’ll definitely want to discard it. You’ll also want to gain rid of any kind of canned food that’s bulging or smells bad. It could be a authorize of C. Botulinum, a bacterium that can reason a deadly type of food poisoning. Botulism is incredibly rare, especially in commercially crate foods. But there’s a risk of it emerging in foods canned improperly in ~ home.

Once in your home, you’ll absolutely want come make sure to store canned food properly. That method keeping crate food somewhere it is cool, dry, and dark, ideally listed below 85°F (29°C) and also no greater than 100°F (38°C). Never keep canned food what that’s wet or hot, choose under the sink or beside the stove.

Once you open canned food, bacteria can start to grow, so you’ll want to conveniently refrigerate and also store any unused portion. Follow to the USDA, you can safely placed your leftover canned food right into the fridge. In order to preserve taste and also flavor, the recommended the you refrigerate any kind of unused section in a separate, clean warehouse container.

You can likewise freeze unused box seafood in a ideal storage container because that up to 2 months.

Jenny Splitter is a writer and also storyteller based in Washington, D.C. She contributes science, food, and health story to outlets choose The Washington Post, brand-new York Magazine, psychological Floss, and also Slate, as well as the science communication project SciMoms. She also appears in the “Science Moms” documentary and also is the story director because that the D.C.-based role playing game experience firm TBD Immersive. She performs her own true, sometimes embarrassing stories around herself on phase for audiences at the 9:30 Club, the national Gallery the Art, and the Birchmere. In she spare time, she carves ice cream sculptures and also grows heirloom wheat. Simply kidding, she has actually two kids.