Food Safety 101: How Long Can You Store Foods and Leftovers?

Just how long is too long to store leftovers, raw meat or eggs in the fridge? Is it safe to eat that leftover dinner from a few days ago or should you throw it out? What about making a sandwich with week-old lunchmeat? It’s time to take the guesswork out of those decisions. Read on to find a helpful chart that can serve as a guide for safe food storage.

Before you check the chart, don’t forget these basic fridge safety tips:

• Always keep the temperature at or below 40° F
• Don’t pack too much in the fridge. Make sure there’s room for air to circulate.
• Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours.
• Don’t thaw frozen foods at room temperature. Put frozen food in the fridge to let it thaw out.

Never leave your food safety questions unanswered again. Bookmark this page and print out this helpful chart so you always know how to answer “Is this OK to eat?”

How long you can store common foods.

Looking for a food item that’s not on the list? The USDA has a handy FoodKeeper app that lists out even more storage times for different food categories. Check it out here.