Tips for storing food safely

Knowing how long food & drink can be properly stored prevents sickness. When properly preserved, food can survive longer than you believe. Here's how long your favorite foods last & keep them safe.

Use by dates

Foods don't need expiration dates in America. In the US, a use by date signifies the product's peak quality date. Best by/before dates indicate when a product will have the best flavor.

Appliance knowledge

Keep your fridge below 40°F (5°C) and between 32–36°F (0–2°C) to keep food safe. A thermometer in your fridge can help you stay within these guidelines.

Cans last how long?

In a famous study, 40-year-old cans of corn looked & smelled fresh. You shouldn't eat anything that's been canned for more than 18 months for high-acid foods like tomatoes & grapefruit.


Most of us have a box or three of cereal in our cupboards. Cereals are safe after their best before or best by date but may taste stale. Moisture softens cereal quickly, so store it in a dry, dark, cool place.


USDA's Food Keeper app indicates butter can be frozen for 9-12 months. One to two months in the fridge. Use scent & taste instead of the best-by date.


Chocolate only goes bad if it contains fresh cream. Keep chocolate cool & dark to prevent it from blooming & becoming gritty. Unopened milk & white chocolate bars last a year opened dark chocolate lasts a year.

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