9 Things in Your Fridge You Should Throw Out Now (PHOTOS)

woman looking through her fridge for old food
What horrors lurk within your refrigerator? Are there foods well past their prime crouched, ready to unleash food poisoning upon you and your family? Well it's time to drag them out and banish them forever. Most of us have at least a couple things in our fridge that should probably go -- I know I do. And it's easy to lose track of what's fresh and what's not, especially if you're busy. But it's worth the time and effort if you can pin down just 10 minutes to screen your fridge for these food safety red flags and throw them away.

things to toss from your fridge

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  • Food in Tin Cans


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    If you don't use up all the food in a can, pour the rest into a glass jar or plastic container. Once opened, the acids can start reacting to the metal and develop a "tinny" taste or become discolored. Also, dust or grime from the outside of the can get into the food.

  • Leftovers More Than 4 Days Old


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    This is the general rule of thumb for leftovers: They can usually last about four days before it's time to toss them.

  • Food That Was Left at Room Temperature for 2 Hours or More


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    It doesn't matter how chilly your refrigerator is; once most perishable food has been sitting out at room temperature, you're better off throwing it away rather than putting it back in the fridge. That's not going to magically kill off the bacteria.

  • Moldy Fruit -- The Whole Thing


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    Don't just cut off the moldy parts from fresh fruit and vegetables. Mold has a root-like structure that will creep nearly invisibly beyond the gross fuzz you can see. Just throw the whole thing out.

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  • Opened Containers of Baby Food Older Than a Couple Days


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    Once you've opened that jar of baby food, strained meat and eggs will last about a day and strained fruits and vegetables will last two to three days. Another safety tip: Don't feed baby directly from the jar. This will add more bacteria to the food. Instead, spoon what you think your baby will eat into a separate bowl and feed from that.

  • Old Condiments


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    According to Everyday Food (via The Kitchn), these condiments will last this long in a refrigerator. Anything older should be thrown out.

    • Ketchup: 6 months
    • BBQ Sauce: 4 months
    • Pure Maple Syrup: 12 months
    • Salsa: 3 days (fresh), 1 month (commercially produced, jarred)
    • Mustard: 12 months
    • Jam and Jelly: 6 months
    • Mayonnaise: 2 months
  • Ancient Preserved Foods Like Olives


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    Jarred olives (still in their brine and covered) should last two weeks. The olives from the deli will last longer, a month or two. Homemade pickles should last a week while commercial, jarred pickles should last a couple months. Preserved meats like hard salami will last two to three weeks.

  • Week-Old Uncooked Meat


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    Fresh, uncooked meat only lasts a couple of days, really. Uncooked bacon lasts about a week. If you grocery shop once a week, try to cook your meat within the first half of the week.

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  • Elderly Milk and Other Dairy


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    Milk will last about a week after its printed date. Unopened butter will last about a month. Cream cheese will last about three weeks.


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