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The Impact of Food Waste Part 3A - Meat, Diary, & Eggs

The Impact of Food Waste: Part Three - Food Storage Basics: Meats, Dairy, and Eggs

By: Samantha McCarthy MS, RD/LDN


As March comes to end, I’d like to wrap up my series on food waste by discussing how to safely store meats, dairy, and eggs. These 3 items are some of the quickest foods to spoil. Proper storage is imperative to prevent food waste and also keep you from getting sick. Below is a chart of several different types of meat, eggs, and dairy products. Follow the chart for proper storage of each item.


Food

Refrigerator

(temperature at or below 40F)

Freezer

(temperature at or below 0F)

Beef, Pork, Veal, or Lamb (raw/fresh)

3-5 days

6-12 months

Beef, Pork, Veal, or Lamb (Cooked)

3-4 days

2-3 months

Ground Meats, uncooked

1-2 days

4 months

Ground Meats, cooked

3-4 days

4 months

Chicken and turkey, raw/fresh

1-2 days

9-12 months

Chicken and turkey, cooked

3-4 days

4 months

Lunch meat/deli meat, opened

3-5 days

1-2 months

Lunch meat/deli meat, unopened

2 weeks

1-2 months

Bacon, opened

1 week

1 month

Bacon, unopened

2 weeks

1 month

Sausage, raw

1-2 days

1-2 months

Sausage, pre-cooked/smoked

1 week

1-2 months

Ham, fresh, uncooked, uncured

3-5 days

6 months

Ham, fresh, uncooked, cured

5-7 days

3-4 months

Ham, fully cooked, vacuum sealed

2 weeks or “use by” date

1-2 months

Eggs, fresh, in shell

3-5 weeks

Do not freeze

Egg whites and yolks, raw

2-4 days

1 year

Egg substitutes, opened

3 days

Do not freeze

Egg substitutes, unopened

10 days

1 year

Cheese, soft

1 week

6 months

Cottage/ricotta cheese

1 week

Do not freeze

Cream cheese

2 weeks

Do not freeze

Butter

1-3 months

6-9 months


 

*Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Keep It Cool: Refrigerator/Freezer Food Storage Chart” Infograph.  https://www.eatright.org/-/media/homefoodsafety/multimedia/downloads/keepitcool-refrigerator-storage-chart.pdf?la=en&hash=A172FE0936C28E2687D48F86A74C3EC2B483C694

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