Food Safety: A Guide to Expiration Dates on Pantry and Refrigerator Foods
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Fitness

Food Safety: A Guide to Expiration Dates on Pantry and Refrigerator Foods

How safe is the already-opened food in your fridge and pantry? Use our guide to decide which foods to save -- and which to discard now.

The FITNESS Food Safety Chart

Most expiration dates printed on packages are intended primarily for store employees, so they know when to remove a product from the shelf. They don't necessarily indicate how long the food will keep once you've opened it. To find out whether it's safe to slather your sandwich with the last smidge of mayo that's been in your fridge for over a month, consult our guide.

After Opening... It’s Good For...
pasta sauce 4 days
pickles 1 to 2 weeks
yogurt 1 to 2 weeks
sour cream 1 to 3 weeks
olives 2 weeks
eggs (in shell) 3 to 5 weeks
salsa 1 month
shredded cheese 1 month
butter 1 to 3 months
mayonnaise 2 months
salad dressing 3 months
cooking oil 4 months
jams, jellies 6 months
ketchup 6 months
margarine 6 months
mustard 1 year
maple syrup 1 year

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2006.

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