Food preservation temperatures and shelf life

Published by Vasilis Gavriilidis on

Portrait of happy family shopping in grocery store: buying milk in dairy product department

Maintaining the optimal temperature and humidity is essential for food preservation of quality, nutrient content, and control of bacterial growth. Continuous monitoring of food temperature is necessary to ensure the optimal food storage conditions.
It is required by various international food safety standards, such as HACCP and ISO 27001.

Food preservation temperature table index

Dry Storage

Many items such as canned goods, baking supplies, grains, and cereals may be kept safely in dry storage areas. You should follow these guidelines:

  • Keep dry storage areas clean with good ventilation to control humidity and prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
  • Store dry foods at 10°C for maximum shelf life. However, 20°C is adequate for dry storage of most products.
  • Place a thermometer on the wall or a temperature data logger for greater security, in the dry storage area.
  • Check the temperature and humidity of the storeroom daily or have the data logger do it for you.
  • Store foods away from sources of heat and light, which decrease shelf life.
  • Store foods off the floor and away from walls to allow for adequate air circulation.

Refrigerated Storage

Refrigeration increases shelf life of most products. Most importantly, refrigeration slows bacterial growth. Optimal refrigerated food storage conditions can be achieved by following these guidelines:

  • Maintain refrigerated storage spaces at 0-4°C.
  • Make thermometers readily observable, easily readable, and accurate to +/-2°C or adjust an accurate temperature sensor nearby .
  • Position the temperature sensor to register the warmest air in the refrigerated space to ensure adequate cooling.
  • Establish the correct refrigerator temperature by placing a thermometer or a sensor in a glass of water in the middle of the refrigerator. Wait 5 to 8 hours. If the temperature is not 3.3-4.4°C, adjust the temperature control. Check again after 5-8 hours.
  • Ensure that refrigerators have enough open, slotted shelving to allow for air circulation around shelves and refrigerator walls to maintain proper food temperatures.
  • Ensure that doors have a good seal and close tightly to maintain the temperature and the efficiency of the unit. Additionally, keep doors closed as much as possible. Place magnetic sensors on the door, to monitor its status.
  • Keep a back-up appliance thermometer in the unit in case of a power outage. If the refrigerator is still 4.4°C when the power returns, the food is safe. The food should not be consumed if the temperature is held at 4.4°C for more than two hours.

Freezer Storage

Freezers should be used to store frozen food when it is received. Optimal frozen storage conditions can be achieved by following these guidelines:

  • Maintain freezer storage spaces at -17°C or below.
  • Position the temperature sensor to represent the actual storage temperature or place several thermometers in the unit to ensure accuracy and consistency.
  • Establish the correct temperature in the freezer by placing a thermometer between frozen food packages. Wait 5 to 8 hours. If the temperature is not -17°C, adjust the freezer temperature control. Check again after 5-8 hours.
  • Ensure that freezers have enough open, slotted shelving to allow for air circulation around shelves and walls to maintain adequate food temperatures.
  • Ensure that doors have a good seal and close tightly to prevent heat gain. Additionally, keep doors closed as much as possible. Place magnetic sensors on the door, to monitor its status.
  • Keep a back-up appliance thermometer in the unit in case of a power outage. If the freezer is still -17°C when the power returns, the food is safe.

More specifically, in the table below you can find indicative storage temperatures, by product category. You will find products among the categories of (Diary, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish etc).

Appropriate storage conditions – temperature and humidity – are required to maximize storage time and maintain the quality of the fruits and vegetables harvested.
Fresh fruits need low temperature and high relative humidity to slow down metabolic processes. The table below shows the optimum temperatures and humidity conditions for some common fruits and vegetables.

Product Search

  1. Fruits and Vegetables
  2. Meat
  3. Seafood
  4. Baked
  5. Dairy
  6. Cheese
  7. Products containing egg
  8. Miscellaneous
  9. Pantry

Fruits and Vegetables

ProductBest Storage Temperature ° CFreezing Point
° C
Optimal Humidity
%
Approximate Storage Life
Apples-1.1 – 4.-1.590-951-12 months
Apricots-0.6 – 0-190-951-3 weeks
Artichokes0.5 -0.690-95
Artichokes, Jerusalem-0.5 – 0-290-954-5 months
Asparagus0 – 1.6-0.695-1002-3 weeks
Avocados, ripe3.3 – 7.285-95
Avocados, unripe7.2 – 1085-95
Bananas, green16 – 2185-95
Bananas, ripe13.3 – 15.685-95
Basil11.1 – 1590-95
Beans, dry4.4 – 1040-506-10 months
Beans, green or snap4.4 – 7.2-0.7957-10 days
Beans, sprouts095-1007-9 days
Beets0 – 1.690-95
Beets, bunched0-0.398-10010-14 days
Beets, topped0-0.998-1004-6 months
Blackberries0 – 0.5-0.890-952-3 days
Blueberries0 – 1.690-95
Bok Choy0 – 1.590-95
Broccoli0-0.695-10010-14 days
Brussels Sprouts0-0.890-953-5 weeks
Bunched Greens090-95
Cabbage, early0-0.898-1003-6 weeks
Cabbage, late0-0.998-1005-6 months
Cantaloupe2.2 – 390-95
Carrots, bunched095-1002 weeks
Carrots, immature0-1.398-1004-6 weeks
Carrots, mature0-1.398-1007-9 months
Cauliflower0-0.77895-983-4 weeks
Cauliflower0 – 1.6790-95
Celery0-0.598-1002-3 months
Celeriac0-0.997-996-8 months
Chard095-10010-14 days
Cherries0 – 1.790-95
Cherries, sour0-1.790-953-7 days
Cherries, sweet-1.1 – -0.5-1.890-952-3 weeks
Chicory0 – 1.6790-95
Chicory, witloof095-1002-4 weeks
Chinese Pea Pods0 – 1.690-95
Coconuts12.8 – 1580-85
Collards0-0.795-10010-14 days
Corn, sweet0-0.695-985-8 days
Cranberries3.3 – 5.590-95
Cucumbers10 – 12.8-0.59510-14 days
Currants-0.6 – 0-190-951-4 weeks
Eggplant7.8 – 12.2-0.890-951 week
Elderberries-0.556 – 090-951-2 weeks
Endive0-0.195-1002-3 weeks
Escarole0 – 1.690-95
Escarole0-0.195-1002-3 weeks
Figs0 – 1.690-95
Garlic0-0.865-706-7 months
Ginger Root15 – 18.365-70
Gooseberries-0.556 – 0-1.190-953-4 weeks
Grapefruit12.8 – 15.690-95
Grapes-0.6 – 0-1.2852-8 weeks
Green Beans4.4 – 790-95
Green Peas0 – 1.6790-95
Greens, leafy095-10010-14 days
Guavas7.2 – 1090-95
Herbs0 – 1.6790-95
Horseradish-1.11 – 0-1.8398-10010-12 months
Jicama11 – 18.365-701-2 months
Kale0-0.595-1002-3 weeks
Kiwi, ripe0 – 1.690-95
Kiwi, unripe0 – 1.790-95
Kohlrabi0-198-1002-3 months
Leeks0-0.795-1002-3 months
Lemons11 – 12.890-95
Lettuce0-0.1798-1002-3 weeks
Limes8.8 – 1290-95
Lychees4.4 – 7.290-95
Mangos10 – 12.885-95
Melons, Casaba/Persian10 – 1285-95
Melons, Crenshaw10 – 1185-95
Melons, Honey Dew10 – 1285-95
Mushrooms0-0.8953-4 days
Napa0 – 1.690-95
Nectarines-0.6 – 0-0.990-952-4 weeks
Okra0 – 1.690–95
Onions0 – 1.6-0.765-751–8 months
Onions green0-0.895–100    3–4 weeks
Oranges4.4 – 7.290-95
Papayas10 – 12.885-95
Parsley0-1.195-1002-3 months
Parsnips0-0.898-1004-6 months
Peaches-0.6 – 0-0.990-952-4 weeks
Pears-1.7 – -0.5-1.590-952-7 months
Peas, green0-0.695-981-2 weeks
Peas, southern4.44 – 5956-8 days
Peppers, hot chili0 – 1060-706 months
Peppers, sweet7 – 12.8-0.790-952-3 weeks
Persimmons0 – 1.790-95
Pineapples10 – 12.885-95
Plums-0.6 – 0-0.890-952-5 weeks
Pomegranates5 – 1090-95
Potatoes7.2 – 1090-95
Precut Fruit0 – 2.290-95
Precut Vegetables0 – 2.390-95
Prunes-0.6 – 0-0.890-952-5 weeks
Pumpkins10 – 12.8-0.865-702-3 months
Quinces-0.5 – 0-2902-3 months
Quinces0 – 1.690-95
Radishes, spring0-0.795-1003-4 weeks
Radishes, winter095-1002-4 months
Raspberries-0.6 – 0-1.190-952-3 days
Rhubarb0-0.995-1002-4 weeks
Rutabagas0-198-1004-6 months
Salad Mixes0 – 1.690-95
Salsify0-1.1195-982-4 months
Spinach0-0.295-10010-14 days
Sprouts0 – 1.690-95
Squashes, summer5 – 10-0.5951-2 weeks
Squashes, winter10-0.850-701-6 months
Strawberries0-0.790-953-7 days
Sweet Potatoes12 – 16-1.285-904-7 months
Tangerines0 – 1.690-95
Tangerines4.4 – 7.290-95
Tomatoes, mature green12 – 21-0.590-951-3 weeks
Tomatoes, ripe12 – 21-0.590-954-7 days
Turnip greens0-0.195-10010-14 days
Turnips0-1954-5 months
Watercress0-0.395-1002-3 weeks
Watermelon12 – 2185-95
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MEAT (FRESH)

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Beef3-5 days4-12 months
Veal or Pork3-5 days4-12 months
lamb3-5 days4-12 months
Steaks, beef3-5 days4-12 months
Chops Pork3-5 days3-4 months
Chops lamb or veal3-5 days6-9 months
Ground beef, stew meat, ground pork1-2 days3-4 months
Sausage, pork1-2 days1-2 months
Bratwurst, fresh2-3 days2-3 months
Variety meats (liver, kidneys)1-2 days3-4 months
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MEAT (COOKED)

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Canned meat, opened2-3 daysNot recommended
Cooked meat3-4 days2-3 months
Gravy and meat broth1-2 days2-3 months
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MEAT (PROCESSED AND CURED)

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Bacon7 days1 months
Frankfurters7 days1-2 months
Ham whole7 days1-2 months
Ham half3-5 days1-2 months
Ham canned (unopened)8-12 daysNot Recommended
Luncheon meats3-5 days1-2 months
Sausage smoked7 days1-2 months
Dry and semi-dry sausage2-3 weeks6 months
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POULTRY FRESH

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Chicken and turkey (whole)1-2 days12 months
Chicken (pieces)1-2 days9 months
Turkey (pieces)1-2 days6 months
Duck and goose (whole)1-2 days6 months
Giblets1-2 days3-4 months
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POULTRY COOKED

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Canned poultry, opened2-3 days4 months
Cooked poultry dishes3-4 days4-6 months
Pieces (covered with broth)1-2 days6 months
Pieces (not in broth)3-4 days4 months
Fried chicken3-4 days4 months
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WILD GAME

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Venison3-5 days6-12 months
Rabbit, squirrel1-2 days12 months
Wild duck, pheasant, goose (whole)1-2 days6 months
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SEA FOOD

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Canned fish, seafood, opened3-4 days4-6 months
Clams, oysters (shucked) and scallops1-2 days3-4 months
Crab1-2 days4 months
Shrimp1-2 days3-6 months
Lobster (shelled or not)1-2 days6 months
Freshwater fish, cleaned3-5 days6-9 months
Fillets: cod, flounder, haddock, pollack, mullet,
ocean perch, sea perch, sea trout, striped bass
1-2 days46 months
Salmon steak1-2 days2 months
Cooked fish3-4 days1-3 months
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BAKED

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Partially baked cinnamon rolls2 months
Unbaked rolls and bread2-3 weeks1 month
Baked quick breads2 months
Baked breads1-2 weeks2-3 months
Waffles1 month
Unbaked fruit pies1-2 days2-4  months
Baked fruit pies4-5 days6-8 months
Pumpkin or chiffon pies1-2 days chiffon
3-4 days pumpkin
Chiffon not recommended
1-2 month pumpkin
Baked cookiesNot recommended6-12 months
Cookie dough3 months
Frosted baked cakes1 week1 month
Unfrosted baked cakes1 week2-4 month
Angel cakes1 week6-12 month
Fruit cakes6 months12 months
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DAIRY

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Butter3 months6-9 months
Buttermilk1-2 weeks3 months
Cheese: cottage ricotta, cream cheese1-2 weeks1 month
Pasteurized process cheese1-2 months6-8 months
Coffee whitener (liquid)3 weeks See package
Cream, light or half4 weeks4 months
Cream, heavy or whipping1 weekNot recommended
Dip, sour-cream:commercial
homemade


4 weeks
1 week
Not recommended
Margarine6 months12  months
Sour cream2-3 weeksNot recommended
Yogurt1 monthNot recommended
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MILK

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Evaporated, opened3-5 daysNot recommended
Whole or low-fat1 weekNot recommended
Reconstituted nonfat dry1 weekNot recommended
Sweekend, condensed, opened3-5 daysNot recommended
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AGED CHEESE
(cheddar, Swiss, brick, Gouda, mozzarella, etc.)

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Large pieces, packaged or wax-coated6 months
Slices or opened packages1 month6-8 months
Parmesan, romano (grated)1 month3-4 months
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EGGS AND PRODUCTS CONTAINING EGGS

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Eggs, in shell, fresh2-5 weeksNot recommended
Eggs, fresh yolks or whites4 days12 months
Eggs, in shell, hard-cooked2 weeksNot recommended
Egg – containing products:Custards, custard sauces, puddings, custard-filled, pastries or cakes1-2 daysNot recommended
Canned pudding, opened1-2 daysNot recommended
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MISCELLANEOUS

ProductRefrigerator
(0.5° C – 4.4 °C)
Freezer
(-17 °C)
Baby food2-3 daysNot recommended
Soups, stews2-3 days4-6 months
Sandwiches2-3 days1 months
Casseroles1-2 days1 months
Ground spices6 months6-12 months
CandiesNot necessary3-6 months
Salad dressings, openedSeveral monthsNot recommended
Hamburgers1-2 days3-4 months
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PANTRY

ProductAt 21°CComments
 Baking powder18 monthsKeep dry and covered
Baking soda18 months – 2 yearsKeep dry and covered
Bouillon cubes or granules2 yearsKeep dry and covered
Bread, room temperature2-4 daysFreeze for longer storage
Bread crumbs, dried6 monthsKeep dry and covered
Cereals: 

Ready to eat, unopened

Ready to eat, opened

6-12 months

2-3 months
Refold package liner tightly after opening
Hot cereal, dry6 months
Chocolate:

Semi-sweet

Unsweetened

Pre-melted


18 months – 2 years

18 months – 2 years

12 months




Keep cool
Chocolate syrup:

Unopened

Opened


2 years

6 months


Cover tightly
Coffee, instant, unopened

Opened
1-2 years

2-3 months
Cornmeal12 monthsKeep tightly covered
Cornstarch18 monthsKeep tightly covered
Flour:

White

Whole wheat


6-12  months

6-8 months


Keep in airtight container

Refrigerated
Honey12 monthsCover tightly
Jellies, jams12 monthsCover tightly
Marshmallow cream, unopened3-4 monthsRefrigerate after opening
Mayonnaise, unopened3-4  monthsRefrigerate after opening
Milk:

Condensed or evaporated, unopened

Nonfat dry, unopened

Nonfat dry, opened


12 months

6 months

3 months

Invert cans every 2 months to prevent separation.
Store in airtight container.
Pasta:

Spaghetti, macaroni

Egg noodles


1-2 years

6 months


Once opened, store in airtight container
Rice:

Brown

White

Flavored or herb


1 year

1-2 years

6 months

Keep tightly covered
Salad dressings:
Bottled, unopened

10-12 months

Refrigerate after opening
Sugar:

Brown

Confectioners

granulated


4 months

18 months

2 years

Once opened, store in airtight container
Syrups12 monthsRefrigerate after opening
Tea:

Bags

Instant

Loose


18 months

3 years

2 years

Store in an airtight container.
Vegetable oils:

Unopened

Opened


6 months

1-3 months

Refrigeration extends shelf life.
Vinegar:

Unopened

Οpened


2 years

12 months

Keep tightly covered.
Biscuit, brownie, muffin mix9 monthsKeep cool and dry
Cakes:

Purchased Mixes,

Standard mixes,

Angel food


1-2 days

12-18 months

12 months

Keep cool and dry
Cookies:

Homemade

Packaged

             
2-3 weeks
                 
2 months


Store in an airtight container.
Crackers:8 monthsKeep tightly closed
Hot roll mix18 monthsStore in an airtight container.
Pancake mix15 monthsStore in an airtight container.
Potatoes, instant mix6-12 monthsKeep cool and dry
Pudding mixes12 monthsStore in an airtight container.
Rice mixes6 monthsKeep cool and dry
Sauce and gravy mixes1-2 yearsKeep cool and dry
Soup mixes12 monthsKeep cool and dry
Toaster pastries6 monthsStore in an airtight container.
Tortillas2-4 daysRefrigerate after opening.
Canned fruit juices9 monthsKeep Cool
Canned foods, unopened12-18 monthsKeep Cool
Fruits, dried6 months
Vegetables:

Dried

Dehydrated flakes


1 year

6 months
Keep Cool
In an airtight container
Catsup, chili sauce:

Unopened

Opened


12 months

1 month


Refrigerate for longer storage.
Hot sauce1 yearRefrigerate after opening.
Mustard:

Unopened

Opened


1 year

1 year

May be refrigerated
Species and herbs:

Whole spices

Ground spices

Herbs

Herb spice blends


1-2 years

6 months

6 months

6 months


Keep Cool In an airtight container away from sunlight and heat.
Vanilla and other extracts:

Unopened

Opened


2 years

12 months


Keep tightly closed.
Commercial salsa, unopened12-18 monthsRefrigerate after opening.
Cheese, Parmesan, grated10 monthsRefrigerate after opening.
Coconut:
Shredded, canned or packaged, unopened

12 months

Refrigerate after opening.
Meat substitutes
(imitation bacon ets)
4 monthsKeep tightly covered, refrigerate for longer storage.
Powdered breakfast mixes6 monthsStore in covered containers or original packages.
Nuts:

In shell, unopened

Vacuum can, unopened

Package or can, opened


4 months

12 months

1 month


Refrigerate after opening.
Peanut butter:

Unopened

Opened


6-9 months

1 month


Refrigeration not needed, but keeps longer if it is stored.
Peas, beans, dried12 monthsStore in an airtight container
PopcornMicrowave popcorn2 years

1 year

Store in an airtight container
Whipped topping, dry12 monthsKeep cool and dry.
Yeast, dryExpiration date on packageRefrigerate after opening.
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The development and implementation of the HACCP or ISO22000: 2018 rules, which is a ‘safety valve’, has helped to reduce food poisoning, reduce fines for food businesses and increase consumer confidence.

You can make the process of food preservation simpler and alleviate the risks of food spoiling, by taking advantage of advanced temperature sensors and data logging systems.

The use of wireless temperature data loggers, such as HAM ThermoSense, can effectively contribute to temperature monitoring and food preservation.

With HAM ThermoSense you can easily reduce the cost of maintenance and operation of professional refrigerators and have immediate information in case of power failure or power outage.

For more information about the features and installation of the HAM ThermoSense device, contact us via:

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