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How Long Does Meat Last in the Fridge?

Food storage brings up a lot of questions and concerns, especially when it involves meat products. Here are the guidelines for deciding what’s safe to eat.

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Raw organic uncooked whole chicken with salt and pepper on backing paper in old oven tray with white kitchen towel and meat fork over black burnt wooden background.Shutterstock / Natasha Breen

Raw poultry

Raw poultry lasts just a day or two in the fridge (at a temperature of 40ºF or colder), but up to a year in the freezer (at a temperature of 0ºF or colder). Cooked poultry can be refrigerated a few days longer and should be frozen no longer than two to six months. Watch out for these other foods that you’ve been storing wrong this whole time.

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Close up Wooden Chopping Board with Raw Beef Meat on a Rustic Table with Herbs and SpicesShutterstock / stockcreations

Red meat and pork

Red meat and pork can remain in the refrigerator for up to five days and can be frozen for four to 12 months. Leftover cooked meat will last three to four days in the refrigerator and two to six months in the freezer.

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meat in shopShutterstock / Pavel L Photo and Video

Ground meats

Ground meats such as beef, veal, pork, or poultry can be refrigerated for one to two days and frozen for three to four months. Watch out for these foods that are probably spoiled in your fridge right now.

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Several cooking hot dogs on a grillShutterstock / JasonCPhoto

Lunch meat and hot dogs

Hot dogs and lunch meat will last two weeks in the refrigerator unopened and should be eaten within three to five days of opening (hot dogs can go a couple of days longer). In the freezer, they’ll last one to two months.

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Raw bacon on a baking sheetShutterstock / jmattisson

Bacon and sausage

Bacon is safe to eat for up to a week in the fridge—but raw sausage should be eaten within two days. Both can be frozen for a month, and some sausage can be frozen for twice as long. These are the long-lasting foods you’re probably throwing out way too soon.

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Organic eggs in a boxPiotr Swat/Shutterstock

What about eggs?

Odds are, you’re planning on whipping up some eggs with your bacon, so here’s the low-down on how to store them properly. Eggs can be refrigerated for up to a month raw but no more than a week if they are hard-boiled. Only egg whites or beaten eggs (yolks and whites) should be frozen (i.e., not whole eggs), and will last for up to a year. Egg substitute and separated egg whites or yolks should be eaten within two to four days of refrigeration.

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Shredded meat in a bowlShutterstock / HandmadePictures

…and deli salads?

Deli salads such as chicken, tuna, egg, or pasta salad will last three to five days in the fridge and should not be frozen. Next, read about the storage tips that will make your food last way longer.


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