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Refrigerator & Freezer Storage Chart

Consult this chart and follow these tips. These short but safe time limits will help keep refrigerated food held at 40°F or below from spoiling or becoming dangerous.

  • 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 at 0°F keeps food safe indefinitely, the following recommended storage times are for quality only. The don’t freeze indicates that the quality of the products is not acceptable if frozen.



Original Publication Date:

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Disclaimer: Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

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