Cold Storage Chart

Purchase the product before "sell-by" or expiration dates. Follow handling recommendations on product. Keep meat and poultry in its package until just before using. If freezing meat and poultry in its original package longer than 2 months, overwrap these packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper, or place the package inside a plastic bag.

Because freezing keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only.

Product

Refrigerator

Freezer

Eggs

fresh, in shell

3 weeks

don't freeze

raw yolks, whites

2 to 4 days

1 year

hard cooked

1 week

do not freeze well

Liquid pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes

opened

3 days

don't freeze

unopened

10 days

1 year

Mayonnaise
(refrigerate after opening)

2 months

don't freeze

TV Dinners, Frozen Casseroles
(keep frozen until ready to heat)

3–4 months

Soups and Stews
(vegetable or meat added)

3–4 days

2–3 months

Deli and Vacuum Packed Products

store-prepared (or homemade) egg, chicken, tuna, ham, macaroni salads

3–5 days

do not freeze well

pre–stuffed pork and lamb chops chicken breasts stuffed w/dressing

1 day

do not freeze well

store-cooked convenience meals

3–4 days

do not freeze well

commercial brand vacuum-packed dinners with USDA seal, unopened

2 weeks

do not freeze well

Raw hamburger, ground and stew meat

hamburger and stew meats

1–2 days

3–4 months

ground turkey, veal, pork, lamb and mixtures of them

1–2 days

3–4 months

Ham, Corned Beef

corned beef in pouch with pickling juices

5–7 days

drained, 1 month

canned ham, labeled "Keep Refrigerated", unopened

6–9 months

don't freeze

canned ham, labeled "Keep Refrigerated", opened

3–5 days

1–2 months

ham, fully cooked, whole

7 days

1–2 months

ham, fully cooked, half

3–5 days

1–2 months

ham, fully cooked, slices

3–4 days

1–2 months

Hot Dogs

opened package

1 week

1–2 months
(in freezer wrap)

unopened package

2 weeks

1–2 months
(in freezer wrap)

Lunch Meats

opened package

3–5 days

2 weeks

unopened package

1–2 months

1–2 months

Bacon and sausage

Bacon

7 days

1 month

sausage, raw pork, beef,chicken or turkey

1–2 days

1–2 months

smoked breakfast links, patties

7 days

1–2 months

Summer Sausage labeled "Keep Refrigerated", unopened

3 months

1–2 months

Summer Sausage labeled "Keep Refrigerated", opened

3 weeks

1–2 months

Fresh beef, veal, lamb and pork

Steaks

3–5 days

6–12 months

Chops

3–5 days

4–6 months

Roasts

3–5 days

4–12 months

Variety meats (tongue, kidneys, liver, heart, chitterlings)

1–2 days

3–4 months

Meat leftovers

cooked meat and meat dishes

3–4 days

2–3 months

gravy and meat broth

1–2 days

2–3 months

Fresh Poultry

chicken or turkey, whole

1–2 days

1 year

chicken or turkey, parts

1–2 days

9 months

giblets

1–2 days

3–4 months

Cooked Poultry, leftover

fried chicken

3–4 days

4 months

cooked poultry dishes

3–4 days

4–6 months

pieces, plain

3–4 days

4 months

pieces covered with broth, gravy

1–2 days

6 months

chicken nuggets, patties

1–2 days

1–3 months

 

Call Toll-Free For More Information:

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1 (800) 535-4555 Washington DC (202) 720-3333 TTY: 1 (800) 256-7072 Fast Fax: 1 (800) 238-8281 Bottom of Form