Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is that mold on the Ketchup?

Are you using the same ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc, from last summer that have been in your fridge all winter? ConsumerReports says you may be better off tossing the old condiments and buying new for the BBQ season. They cite the following shelf-life values from the Food Safety and Inspection Service for items that have been opened.

  • Ketchup, cocktail or chili sauce: 6 months;
  • Chutney: 1 to 2 months;
  • Horseradish: 3 to 4 months;
  • Mustard: 12 months;
  • Pickles and olives: 2 weeks;
  • Mayonnaise and salad dressing: Up to 2 months;
  • Barbecue sauce: 4 months;
  • Worchestershire sauce: 12 months;
  • Jams and jellies: 6 months.
  • Two weeks does seem very short for pickles and olives but then again I've seen a moldy pickle in a vat at a grocery store. Ugh!

    The Consumerist notes that the FoodKeeper shelf-life values come from "a trade group of grocery retailers and wholesalers" who might be concerned about your safety but are also happy to have you toss out old food and buy more. So these deadlines may not be life or death but just suggestions.

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