Do you know how to keep your dairy products safe to eat? Review the following tips before your next trip to the grocery store.
- Pick up milk and dairy products toward the end of your shopping trip to reduce the amount of time they are out of refrigeration.
- Check the "sell-by" date on all dairy products.
- Store milk and other dairy products in a refrigerator set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never store milk in the refrigerator door where it is susceptible to warmer air from the door opening and closing.
- Tightly wrap cheese and place back in the refrigerator after opening.
- Remove mold from hard cheese by cutting a one-inch square around it; the rest is safe to eat.
- Discard entire package of soft or shredded cheese if mold is present.
- Discard all milk after the container has been opened one week, regardless of the "sell-by" date.
- Use yogurt within 1 to 2 weeks and observe use by date.
- Hard cheese, like cheddar, Gouda, Edam and Swiss, can last for three to four weeks. It is okay to freeze hard cheese, but texture and taste may suffer.
- Softer cheeses have a shorter shelf life:
Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems should not eat unpasteurized cheeses or soft cheeses (Camembert, Brie, blue-veined)
- Ricotta cheese: 1 week.
- Cream cheese: 2 weeks.
- Cottage cheese: 1 week.
- After opening, processed cheese spread lasts for three to four weeks.
- Ice cream can last for two to four months.
Reviewed December 2012