When in doubt, throw it out!!

If you’re like me, you’ve probably made more than one phone call to your mom asking “how long is chicken good for?” Or “can I still eat the cooked beef from a few nights ago?” These are good questions – and if you’re not sure, it’s a good thing you’re questioning it enough to call for an opinion.

While the purpose of my blog is about the healing powers of eating the right foods, I thought this post would still be relevant. You can’t heal if you’re eating food that’s gone bad! In fact, in rare cases, it can be fatal!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my best friend – this handy “little” chart from the Canadian government’s website. Bookmark it, print it, memorize it. Do what you gotta do. Be safe out there people!

FoodRefrigerator at 4 °C (40 °F) or lowerFreezer at – 18 °C (0 °F) or lower
Fresh meat
Beef2-4 days10 – 12 months
Pork2-4 days8 – 12 months
Lamb2-4 days8 – 12 months
Veal3-4 days8 – 12 months
Ground meat1-2 days2 – 3 months
Fresh poultry
Chicken/Turkey – whole2-3 days1 year
Chicken/Turkey – pieces2-3 days6 months
Fresh fish
Lean fish – cod, flounder etc.3-4 days6 months
Fatty fish – salmon etc.3-4 days2 months
Shellfish – clams, crab, lobster etc.12-24 hours2-4 months
Scallops, shrimp, cooked shellfish1-2 days2-4 months
Canned ham6-9 monthsDon’t freeze
Cooked ham3-4 days2-3 months
Bacon and sausages
Bacon1 week1 month
Raw sausage1-2 days1-2 months
Pre-cooked sausage links or patties1 week1-2 months
Hot dogs
Un-opened hotdogs2 weeks1-2 months
Opened hotdogs1 week1-2 months
Lunch meat and deli food
Un-opened lunch meat2 weeks1-2 months
Opened lunch meat3-5 days1-2 months
Deli packaged lunch meat3-4 days2-3 months
Deli or homemade salads3-5 daysDon’t freeze
Cooked meat, stews, egg or vegetable dishes3-4 days2-3 months
Cooked poultry and fish3-4 days4-6 months
Meat broth and gravy3-4 days4-6 months
Soups2-3 days4 months
Frozen dinners
Keep frozen until ready to cook3-4 months
Fresh in shell3-4 weeksDon’t freeze
Fresh out of shell2-4 days4 months
Hard-cooked1 weekDoesn’t freeze well
Egg substitutes un-opened10 days1 year
Egg substitutes opened3 daysDon’t freeze
Dairy products
Un-opened milkBest before date6 weeks
Opened milk3 daysDon’t freeze
Un-opened cottage cheeseBest before dateDoesn’t freeze well
Opened cottage cheese3 daysDon’t freeze
Un-opened yogurtBest before date1-2 months
Opened yogurt3 daysDon’t freeze
Soft cheese1 weekDoesn’t freeze well
Semi-soft cheese2-3 weeks8 weeks
Firm cheese5 weeks3 months
Hard cheese10 months1 year
Processed cheese5 months3 months
Un-opened salted butter8 weeks1 year
Un-opened unsalted butter8 weeks3 months
Opened butter3 weeksDon’t freeze
Beans green or waxed5 days8 months
Carrots2 weeks10-12 months
Celery2 weeks10-12 months
Leaf lettuce3-7 daysDon’t freeze
Iceberg lettuce1-2 weeksDon’t freeze
Spinach2-4 weeks10-12 months
Summer squash1 week10-12 months
Winter squash2 weeks10-12 months
TomatoesDon’t refrigerate2 months

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Melissa says:

    Interesting! I go by the smell test which is a bit dodgy. This seems to be more reliable! Haha. Makes me consider freezing more veggies because they last so long too! Great references. Food poisoning is awful and potentially very dangerous! Also wanted to mention- beautiful stylized website. The layout and pictures and very professional! Although the bad peaches remind me of my few summers as a peach sorter at a farm….hm. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much Melissa! Yes freezing veggies works well – especially if you pre-chop them! Also makes it much easier to use later when you want a quick dinner 🙂


  3. maragiar1 says:

    This is great and very useful! I also let the dogs smell it! If you can believe it they do turn their noses away from beef if its no longer good

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tansyko says:

    This is an interesting post! Now I have to go through my fridge and freezer and probably throw everything out. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. elyseende says:

    This is a very insightful chart, I never really thought about it that much. Might print it off and put it on my fridge for me and my housemates. I’m learning so much from your site its very informative and also beautiful!! I second Melissa on that. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Elyse! And yes I had no idea about many of these either – doing this research was certainly eye-opening!


  6. thatssosonya says:

    I like the chart. Funny – I am always looking up or calling one of my sisters to ask hmmm…..how long do you think this is good? Should I eat it?


    1. I always used to call my mom to ask those questions and now I have the chart to tell me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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