How long grocery items can last in the fridge, freezer and pantry (Stock)
How long grocery items can last in the fridge, freezer and pantry (Stock)

How long grocery items last in the fridge, pantry and freezer

Most federal health organisations recommend having one to two weeks worth of food and water in case of emergency 

Chelsea Ritschel
Thursday 19 March 2020 16:20

With people around the globe stocking up on food amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to be aware just how long each item can last before it goes off.

From how long meat will last in the freezer, to which grocery items should be refrigerated, this is what you need to know about keeping food fresh in the coming weeks.

What should you refrigerate and how long will each product last?

According to the Mayo Clinic, meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs should all be refrigerated - both when raw and after they are cooked.

Some fruits and vegetables, perishables such as sauces and condiments, and uncooked foods such as cold salads should also be refrigerated.

“Your goal is to reduce the time a food is in the ‘danger zone’ - between 40 and 140F (4 and 60C) - when bacteria can quickly multiply,” the organisation explains.

According to StillTasty, a shelf-life guide, this is how long food can last in the fridge.

Meat, poultry and fish

Meat and poultry - two to three days

Sausages - three days

Bacon, cooked - four to five days

Sliced meat from deli counter - three to five days

Cooked fish - three to four days

Raw fish - one to two days

Fruits and vegetables

Cooked asparagus and other cooked vegetables - three to five days

Raw baby carrots - two to three weeks

Whole raw cucumber - one week

Whole apples - one to two months

Avocados - three to five days once ripe

Bananas - five to seven days once ripe

Mixed fresh cut-up fruits - three to five days

Eggs and dairy products

Cheese (processed unopened slices) - one month

Butter - one month after sell-by date on package

Opened tub of cream cheese - one to two weeks

Fresh eggs in the shell - four to five weeks

Hard-boiled eggs - one week

Unopened non-dairy coffee creamer - two weeks

Milk - five to seven days after “sell-by” date on package


Opened salad dressing - six to nine months

Opened pickles - one year

Cocktail sauce - six to nine months

Ketchup - nine to 12 months

Mayonnaise - two to three months

During periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation, it is especially useful to have canned grocery items such as beans, rice or soup, which are kept in the pantry.

This is how long canned or nonperishable items can last unopened in the pantry

Most varieties of beans - two to three years

Canned soups - three to five years

Dried pasta - one year

Uncooked white rice - four to five years

Brown rice - six to eight months

If you’ve stocked up on perishable items, the good news is you can also keep them frozen for extended periods of time. As a general rule, most foods can be kept in the freezer nine months to a year, but it does vary by product.

This is how long you can freeze foods such as meat, poultry, fish and baked goods

Poultry, whole - one year

Steak - one year

White fish - eight months

Open packs of frozen fruit - eight months

Bread - six months

Stocks - six months

Oily fish like salmon - six months

Pastries - four months

Salted butter - four months

Soups and sauces - three months

Ice cream - four months

According to, the official website of the Department of Homeland Security, stockpiling can be useful in certain emergency situations, such as before a global health pandemic.


To prepare for a global health crisis, the website suggests stocking up on a two-week supply of water and food, as well as periodically checking your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments