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Time to Clean Out That Old Food

I'm really bad with throwing things away, it is definitely a direct result of my parents branding my brain with the idea that wasting is bad. Now older, I agree, but there comes a point where health is involved. I was thrilled to come across these guidelines from on when it's time to chuck the ground chuck that's been in your freezer for years:

    • Milk should always be put on a shelf and never on the door.
    • Eggs should be stored in the container they came in. Never use the plastic egg container that comes with some refrigerators. Eggs need to breathe and the plastic container keeps them from doing so and will cause them to spoil faster. Fresh eggs will last up to three weeks if stored properly.
    • Condiments kept in the fridge will last up to a year, except mayonnaise and that should be kept only for two months. The most dangerous part of condiments is cross contamination. Be sure to always use a clean utensil that has not touched other foods before putting the knife or fork into the jar.
    • Frozen entrees and dinners: three to four months
    • Ground beef or turkey: three months
    • Lunchmeats (unopened): one month
    • Bacon (unopened): one month
    • Whole chicken or turkey: one year

    What about the pantry? Want to find out? Then

    • Cooking oils should always be stored in a cool dry place. Unopened oil lasts about six months, once opened up to three months.
    • Salad dressings will last unopened up to a year and after opening should be kept in the fridge up to three months.
    • Pastas will last about a year unopened or stored in an airtight container.
    • Egg Noodles will only last about one to two months after they're opened.
    • Rice will last about a year, but be sure to keep moisture out.
    • Herbs and spices can be breeding grounds for bugs, so handle and store these properly. Whole spices last about two years, ground spices between six to 12 months. Always store in glass jars. Spices in plastic jars or plastic bags don’t last as long as the plastic itself allows air to get in. Never buy spices in wooden bins. They are a haven for insects.
    • Canned foods will last up to two years from date of manufacture — not the date you purchased them. Many cans still carry a manufacturing code (instead of a "use by" date). There is no standard, but most canned goods follow this syste: If the code reads as E719W1...
      • E = Month manufactured, the manufacturing year typically starts in June with A for June. In this case E = "October."
      • 7 = Last number of the year which it was manufactured. In this example — 2007.
      • 19 = The day of the month manufactured.
      • W = Plant name or location.
      • 1 = Shift that the product was manufactured. In this case, the first shift of the day.
      • If you don’t want to take the trouble to decipher, just call the 800# on the package and the customer service representative will be happy to tell you when it was made.


Join The Conversation
GeikoSera GeikoSera 10 years
The whole bugs and spices things worries me. :x
am am 10 years
According to the USDA, eggs can last up to 10 weeks IF stored properly (in the US that means refrigerating clean eggs). Of course, I'm sure there are eggs out there that don't last that long so be careful. If there is doubt, throw it out. A dozen eggs is much cheaper than a trip to the doctor, eh? As far as not refrigerating, I've read somewhere else (don't remember) that the egg quality decreases by a "grade" a day if not refrigerated (Grade A vs B etc). Those over in England are probably used to fresher eggs that come from a farm closer to home? I've read up a lot about this cuz I've got chickens and give away their eggs, and really want to make sure I give people "safe" eggs.
Sweet-Adeline Sweet-Adeline 10 years
Gee, Monica, there is so much good info in this posting and most of it is common sense and not meant to be "scientific." I, however, want my eggs refrigerated!
amyfinke amyfinke 10 years
re: can codes - very cool - thanks for the info!
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
Wow, thanks for demystifying can codes!! Monica, that's interesting that England doesn't put eggs in the fridge! How long do they last out of the fridge?
monica117 monica117 10 years
In England (NOT a third world country) we don't even refrigerate our eggs. This article doesn't seem very scientific to me.
Daylyn Daylyn 10 years
These are good to know! Sometimes I don't really think about these kinds of things, I usually go by the date on the container and that's it! Thanks Fit!
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