The Shelf Life of Food
With notoriously tight budgets and a tendency to be a bit forgetful when it comes to the contents of their fridges, college students are prone to be somewhat unwilling to throw out a carton of milk that’s a week or two over the “sell by” date. After all, you paid a whole $2 for that gallon, and that kind of money doesn’t grow on trees. But then again, a stomach pump tends to cost a lot as well. Since we at HackCollege are strongly opposed to both food poisoning and wasting food alike, we recommend knowing exactly when you should finish off that gallon before you have to toss it in the trash.
The good people of Visual.ly have come up with an infographic to do just that. Using information from the USDA, the FDA and a number of other food safety sources, the chart lists a number of different basic foods and tells you not only how long it will last in the fridge, but also how long it would last if left out on the counter at room temperature or if it was frozen as well. Even better, it shows exactly how foods should and should not be stored, such as informing you that potatoes should apparently never be frozen.
If you’ve ever wondered, exactly what the difference is between “use by,” “sell by” and “expires on,” the chart goes on to explain how and why these labels are used in different situation, while also explaining that all of these labels refer to quality and not safety, meaning that you can rest assured that if that gallon of milk passes the smell test a couple days after the expiration date, you’re probably not going to die.
Plus, of particular interest to the college crowd, the chart also shows the shelf life of leftovers as well, giving pizza 3-4 days of usability and macaroni & cheese 3-5 days before it should be thrown out.
To see the full chart, head over to visual.ly.