Food Storage Safety Guidelines

canned food storage

Prevent Food Poisoning to Keep You and Your Family Safe

At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we've been helping accident victims for over 35 years – including food poisoning victims. We've found that educating people about food safety is a key factor in preventing foodborne illnesses, trips to the hospital, and even deaths.

Storing raw and cooked meat, produce, and other foods safely is a way to combat food poisoning risks and help keep your family safe. Learn more about each by clicking on the links below:

Fruits, Veggies, and Produce

Storing fresh produce can affect both quality and safety. If your produce is not stored properly, not only will your food go bad sooner, but it could also put you at risk for foodborne illness.

  • Store perishable fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms, in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40oF or below.
  • Refrigerate pre-cut or peeled produce as soon as possible.
  • Wash produce items well to clean off bacteria, viruses, and chemicals prior to eating them.
  • If an item is marked pre-washed, you do not have do any further washing. However, if you do, make sure you use safe-handling practices to avoid cross contamination (i.e. don't use a sponge or cloth that could have bacteria on it from another food source)
Fruit/Vegetable Storage Method/Time Tips
Apples Room temperature: 1-2 days
Refrigerator: up to 1 month
Ripen apples at room temperature. Once they are ripe, store them unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper.
Bananas Room temperature: 1-2 days Ripen bananas at room temperature.
Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries Refrigerator: 2-3 days Do not remove the green tops from strawberries before storing them.
Broccoli Refrigerator: 3-5 days Store broccoli unwashed in plastic bags.
Beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips Refrigerator: 1-2 days Remove green tops and store the vegetables unwashed in plastic bags.
Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon Refrigerator: 3-4 days for cut melon Store ripe, cut melon covered in the refrigerator.
Corn Refrigerator: 1-2 days Store corn husks in plastic bags.
Grapes Refrigerator: 3-5 days Store grapes unwashed in plastic bags.
Herbs Refrigerator: 2-3 days Herbs may be stored in plastic bags.
Lettuce and greens Refrigerator: 5-7 days for lettuce; 1-2 days for greens Store them unwashed in plastic bags in the refrigerator.
Nectarines, peaches, and pears Refrigerator: 5 days Ripen fruit at room temperature, then refrigerate unwashed in plastic bags.
Onions Room temperature: 2-4 weeks for dry onions
Refrigerator: 3-5 days for green onions
Store dry onions loosely in a mesh bag in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place away from sunlight. Store green onions unwashed.
Oranges Room temperature: 2 weeks Store in cool room temperatures.
Potatoes Room temperature: 1-2 weeks Store unwashed potatoes in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from light.
Tomatoes Refrigerator: 2-3 days for fully ripe tomatoes Ripen tomatoes at room temperature before storing.

Meat, Poultry, and Fish

Don't automatically assume that product dates are a good guide for consuming food safely. Follow these tips and consult the chart below to prevent your food from spoiling or becoming dangerous.

  • Refrigerate meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. However, if the temperature outside is above 90oF, refrigerate them within 1 hour.
  • Place raw meat and poultry in individual bags to prevent meat from contaminating other foods.
  • Use a thermometer to ensure that your refrigerator is between 35o-40oF and the freezer is at 0o F or below. These temperatures help prevent the growth of bacteria and keep your meats, poultry, and fish from spoiling.
  • Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days of purchase. Cook or freeze beef, veal, lamb, or pork within 3 to 5 days.
  • Place your meats as low as possible in the fridge to avoid having meat juices drip down and contaminate other foods.
  • Freezing doesn't destroy harmful bacteria; it only inactivates the ones present in food. Once the food is thawed, bacteria can become active again and begin to multiply to levels that can lead to food poisoning. Make sure you cook food thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria or viruses.
Product Refrigerator Freezer
Bacon 7 days 1 month
Sausage, raw from pork, beef, chicken, or turkey 1-2 days 1-2 months
Steaks 3-5 days 6-12 months
Chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
Roasts 3-5 days 4-12 months
Variety meats (tongue, kidneys, liver, and heart) 1-2 days 3-4 months
Chicken or turkey, whole 1-2 days 1 year
Chicken or turkey, parts 1-2 days 9 months
Lean fish 1-2 days 6 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, crawfish, and squid 1-2 days 3-6 months
Canned seafood 1-2 days after opening 3-6 months out of can

Nuts and Other Food Items

There are plenty of other foods besides fruits, vegetables, meats, and poultry that you need to store properly to prevent contamination. Follow these tips and consult the chart below for safe food storage:

  • Store eggs in their original carton – not in a refrigerator door where temperatures tend to be warmer than the recommended 40oF.
  • Keep milk, milk products, and yogurt refrigerated at all times.
  • Store nuts in a moisture-proof and airtight jar, or wrapped tightly in a heavy plastic bag.
  • Refrigerate solid cheese in its original wrap until opened. After opening, rewrap the cheese tightly in a moisture proof wrap, such as foil or an airtight container.
  • Cover opened butter or margarine when in the refrigerator. Before freezing butter, wrap each package tightly in foil or plastic.
Product Refrigerator Freezer
Eggs 4-5 weeks Don't freeze
Milk 5-7 days after its "sell by" date Flavor of milk will be affected, generally not recommended
Yogurt 7-10 days opened 6 weeks unopened
Nuts 4 months 9 months
Hard cheeses 3-6 months unopened
3-4 weeks opened
2 weeks sliced
6-8 weeks
Butter 1-2 weeks opened 6-9 months
Margarine 4-6 months

Did You Become a Victim of Food Poisoning?

Sometimes safety precautions can't prevent all risks of food poisoning – especially when there is a recall or foodborne illness outbreak. If you, or someone you love, end up in the hospital from food poisoning, you may have a case.

Questions? Need to know your legal rights? Call 412-394-1000, or fill out the form at the top right of this webpage for a no obligation, free legal consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Our phones answer 24/7, so contact us any day, any time.