From The Store to Your Refrigerator: A Food Spoilage Chart |

From The Store to Your Refrigerator: A Food Spoilage Chart

Sometimes determining the freshness of food in the fridge can be tricky. While some foods may look fine or pass the "smell test", there are varying spoilage times that you have to keep in mind. Eating food that is past its prime can not only not taste right but also get people very ill. This is a great guide to the shelf life when refrigerated of many popular foods. Remember: when in doubt, throw it out!


Milk, 7 days

Butter, 1-3 months

Cream, 4 days

Cheese (hard), 6 months unopened or 3 weeks opened

Cheese (soft), 1 week

Cream cheese, 2 weeks

Cottage cheese, 1 week

Sour cream, 14-21 days

Yogurt, 7-14 days


Fresh, 5 weeks

Hardboiled, 1 week

Liquid egg substitute, 10 days unopened or 3 days opened


Hamburger (ground), 2 days

Turkey (ground), 2 days

Ham (slices), 4 days

Hot dogs, 2 weeks unopened or 1 week opened

Lunch meat, 2 weeks unopened or 3-5 days opened

Bacon, 1 week

Sausage (fresh), 2 days

Sausage (breakfast links or patties), 1 week

Roasts, 3-5 days

Steak, 3-5 days

Chops, 3-5 days

Chicken (whole or parts), 2 days

Fried chicken, 3-4 days

Chicken nuggets, 2 days

Fish (fresh), 1-2 days

Fish (cooked), 4 days

Fish (smoked), 2 weeks

Fresh shrimp and shellfish, 1-2 days

Cooked shelfish, 3-4 days


Juice (carton), 3 weeks unopened or 7-10 days opened

Coffee (canned ground), 1 month

Soft drinks, 3 months from "best by" date

Wine, 1 week corked

Beer, 6 weeks


Mayonnaise, 3 months

Mustard, 6-8 months

Ketchup, 5 months

Honey mustard, 2 months

Tartar sauce, 3 months

Olive oil, 6 months

Tahini, 1 month

Hummus, 1 week

Pickles, 6 months

Horseradish, 6-8 months

Chocolate syrup, 6-8 months

Peanut butter, 4 months

Jelly, 4-5 months

Salad dressing, 2 months

Honey, 8 months

Relish, 6 months


For more information on food spoilage and food poisoning, visit these helpful links:

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