Your refrigerator door is like a condiment trophy case, right? You've got a ton of salad dressings, mustards and other sauces and you often ask yourself: “How much longer will this mustard, which has already been sitting in my fridge for three months, be good?”
The Food Safety Team at Festival Foods has analyzed a handful of popular condiments and we want to provide you some additional information about expiration dates or 'best if used buy by' dates.
First: Check the temperature on your refrigerator to ensure its set at or below 41 F. If you don’t have the appropriate temperature you may be throwing out most -- if not all -- of those questionable items.
Remember: The expiration date is there for a reason. Manufacturer’s place a “use by” or “best by” date on their packages to ensure the quality of the product up to that date. Anything past that time frame and they cannot vouch for the safety of the product.
It's important to follow the manufacturers' dating. The Festival Foods Food Safety Team has outline information below on common condiment use-by dates, which is based on a product's labeled 'best by' date and reflects a usable time frame for products that have been opened and refrigerated.
Mayo is good for a month if it's been opened and in the refrigerator. Margarine can last one to two months in the fridge once it's been opened. And an important note: margarine can be frozen. If you freeze margarine, you can get an additional two to three months out of the product so about four months total to be safe.
And it's important to note that both mayo and margarine have eggs and milk, which limit the amount of time they're stable on a pantry shelf. If it an off odor, use your best judgement and toss it.
Usable time frame (if refrigerated)
Want to see how other items in your fridge compare? Check out the FoodKeeper App developed by The Food Marketing Institute, Cornell University and USDA to provide valuable storage advice to help consumers maintain the freshness and quality of foods.