Tip of the Week

How long a shelf life can you safely give your food?

First rule is to go by the manufacturer’s instructions.  So, if the manufacturer’s instructions are to use within 3 days of opening – you must use the product within the 3 days (even if you add other ingredients to it) unless you cook it.

Packaged foods – Once opened, a pack of fresh food (ham, custard, smoked fish, quiche etc) can be given 3 days shelf life, it this is within the original manufacturer’s use by date.

Fresh Cooked Foods – Once food is cooked (curry, lasagne, pie etc), if it is cooled and refrigerated ready for reheating at service, it can be given 3 days shelf life

Pickled/Salted/Sugar – If the food is high in vinegar, salt or sugar (pickled fresh veg, fruit coulis) and is kept in a normal storage container in the fridge (rather than packed in sterilized jars), it can be given 7 days.

Bottled sauces – go by the manufacturer’s instructions

Vacuum packed on site – a maximum of 10 days (keep within manufacturers use by date if vacuum packing ready to eat foods)

Frozen on site – maximum of 3 months but food will maintain a better quality if you stick to a 1 month shelf life

Dehydrated/dried on site – maximum of 1 month in a normal storage container.  Maximum of 3 months if stored in heat sealed containers/airtight containers (this can be extended by sending off to a lab for date life testing).


For fresh foods using the 3 day shelf life, use Coloured Day Dots (Coloured day is the USE BY date)

For items over 3 days and for foods to be frozen, use a larger label stating product description, date of prep or freezing and USE BY Date.

Weekly Food Fact

Did you know that honey, salt, sugar and raw rice have an eternal shelf life.

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