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Are You Aware of Your Food Products to Cook Safely at Home?

LifeCare Diagnostic

July 22, 2021

Do you know the difference between “best before” and “use by” when purchasing food products? “Best before” indicates food quality, while “use by” denotes food safety.

Food still can be eaten after “best before” dates but its quality (taste and flavour) might not be the best. For example, canned food, frozen food. Best before dates is applicable when the food product is stored properly according to the storage instruction. 

Food products can be eaten up to the “use by” dates (end of the date) but not beyond, although it may look fine or smell good. For example: milk and sushi.

Storage according to the instructions is important. Food poisoning might happen if the food is not stored appropriately because bacteria such as Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes can grow to cause food borne illness. 

Instructions such as “Refrigerate after opening”, “Consume within three days once opened”, “Store in a cool and dry place” – we should pay extra attention. Consumers should note that the durability of a food may change once it’s opened.

Below is food temperature storage recommendations:

Product

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

Freezer (-18°C and below)

Eggs, Fresh, In shell

3-5 weeks

don’t freeze (as liquid expand, it will crack the shell, and contamination happens)

Raw yolks, whites

2-4 days

1 year

Hard cooked

1 week

don’t freeze

Ham, fully cooked, whole

7 days

1-2months

Ham, fully cooked, slices

3-4 days

1-2months

Hot dogs, opened package

1 week

1-2months

Hot dogs, unopened package

2 weeks

1-2months

Vegetable or meat-added & mixtures of them

3-4 days

2-3months

Sausage

1-2 days

1-2months

Fresh meat

3-5 days

4-12 months

Meat leftovers

Cooked meat & meat dishes

3-4 days

2-3 months

Gravy & meat broth

1-2 days

2-3 months

Fresh poultry

1-2 days

1 year (for whole)
9 months (for parts)

Cooked Poultry, Leftovers

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

3-4 days

6 months

Chicken nuggets, patties

3-4 days

1-3 months

Cooked poultry dishes

3-4 days

4-6 months

Pieces, plain

3-4 days

4 months

Pieces covered with broth, gravy

3-4 days

6 months

Chicken nuggets, patties

3-4 days

1-3 months

Fish & Shellfish

Lean fish

1-2 days

6-8 months

Fatty fish

1-2 days

2-3 months

Cooked fish

3-4 days

4-6 months

Smoked fish

14 days

2 months

Fresh shrimp, scallops, squid

1-2 days

3-6 months

Product

Eggs, Fresh, In shell

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-5 weeks

Freezer (-18°C and below)

don’t freeze (as liquid expand, it will crack the shell, and contamination happens)

Product

Raw yolks, whites

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

2-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1 year

Product

Hard cooked

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1 week

Freezer (-18°C and below)

don’t freeze

Product

Ham, fully cooked, whole

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

7 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1-2months

Product

Ham, fully cooked, slices

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1-2months

Product

Hot dogs, opened package

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1 week

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1-2months

Product

Hot dogs, unopened package

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

2 weeks

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1-2months

Product

Vegetable or meat-added & mixtures of them

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

2-3months

Product

Sausage

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1-2 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1-2months

Product

Fresh meat

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-5 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

4-12 months

Product

Meat leftovers

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

Freezer (-18°C and below)

Product

Cooked meat & meat dishes

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

2-3 months

Product

Gravy & meat broth

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1-2 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

2-3 months

Product

Fresh poultry

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1-2 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1 year (for whole)
9 months (for parts)

Cooked Poultry, Leftovers

Product

Fried chicken

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

4 months

Product

Cooked poultry dishes

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

4-6 months

Product

Pieces, plain

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

4 months

Product

Pieces covered with broth, gravy

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

6 months

Product

Chicken nuggets, patties

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1-3 months

Product

Cooked poultry dishes

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

4-6 months

Product

Pieces, plain

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

4 months

Product

Pieces covered with broth, gravy

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

6 months

Product

Chicken nuggets, patties

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

1-3 months

Fish & Shellfish

Product

Lean fish

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1-2 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

6-8 months

Product

Fatty fish

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1-2 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

2-3 months

Product

Cooked fish

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

3-4 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

4-6 months

Product

Smoked fish

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

14 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

2 months

Product

Fresh shrimp, scallops, squid

Refrigerator (5°C and below)

1-2 days

Freezer (-18°C and below)

3-6 months