How Long does fast food last? The shelf life of the food items in the fridge is often estimated based on two factors. The first factor is the storage temperature of the fridge and freezer.
Which include both the conditions where it is stored as well as how often it changes over time. Secondly, it depends on how fresh or processed the food item is when you bring it home from the store.
Items such as biscuits or crackers are considered to have long shelf-lives to be stored for up to six months before needing to be eaten. Meanwhile, vegetables, meats, and dairy products typically have shorter storage times to be eaten within a few days after purchase.
How long does it take for fast food to go wrong?
Unfortunately, the shelf life of fast food items is not clearly labeled on packaging or menus. This means that it can be difficult to determine how long you should keep this type of food before disposing of it.
However, there are ways for you to check if your food has gone bad without contaminating other items in the fridge, so you don’t have to throw away everything if it’s only one item that’s gone bad. A few of the most common ways to determine how long fast food can last in a refrigerator include checking for discoloration, curdling or milky juice, and spoilage odors.
Fast food items such as burgers, fries, and sandwiches typically have a shorter shelf life than other items, so they have to be eaten within a few days of being brought home from the fast food restaurant.
If you are eating at the restaurant itself, it is advised to eat your food immediately or within an hour. Or two after purchase because this will ensure that your food remains at its best quality for as long as possible.
How long does fast food last in the freezer?
Fast food items that are frozen can be kept for longer periods. Partially thawed, raw meat should be eaten within two days to reduce the risk of illness or contamination. If you notice your meat changing colors to dark brown or grey, it’s best to avoid eating this product as this is a sign of degradation.
The partially cooked or prepped ingredients, on the other hand, can be stored in your freezer for up to six months as long as they are not exposed to temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Keep these items wrapped tightly and sealed until ready for use.
When it comes to fully cooked items such as burgers or fries that have been prepped and kept frozen, they can remain fresh for up to two months. However, the biggest risk is the grease in these items, which absorb other flavors over time.
If you smell or taste spoiled food odors coming from your freezer, it’s best to throw out all its contents because this could lead to illness if consumed.
How long can fast food be left at room temperature?
Fast food items are designed to have a shorter shelf life, so it’s best to eat them right away or bring them home immediately after purchase.
For example, the expected storage time for any items you buy from local farmers’ markets, street vendors, and other small shops is never more than one day. So, if you don’t plan to eat them immediately, it’s best to bring them home as soon as possible.
Frozen fast food items can be left out at room temperature for up to two hours before they start to thaw. Any partially thawed product must be eaten immediately or placed back in the freezer for later consumption.
Any fully cooked items such as burgers and fries that have been prepped and left out at room temperature should ideally be eaten within an hour or two.
12 Tips for storing and preparing your leftovers:
- Let food cool completely before storing. Putting hot food straight into the fridge can raise the temperature and spoil other foods.
- Store leftovers in shallow, airtight containers. This helps food cool quickly and prevents it from drying out. Glass and plastic containers with lids work best.
- Label containers with contents and dates. This helps you track what’s in there and how old it is.
- Use leftovers within 3-4 days. The exception is soup or stew, which lasts 5-6 days in the fridge. After that, freeze or toss.
- When reheating soup or sauce, please bring it to a full boil on the stovetop first. This reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
- You can generally reheat leftovers once. After that, toss them. Reheating multiple times allows bacteria to grow.
- Add a little liquid when reheating if the food seems dry. Broth, water, or sauce helps add moisture.
- Preheat oven to 350°F when reheating casseroles or baked dishes. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.
- Place a paper towel between pizza slices when reheating to prevent sogginess. Reheat at 400°F for best texture.
- Stir-fried rice before reheating so all parts heat evenly. Add a teaspoon or two of water to return moisture.
- Reheat meat, chicken, or fish pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper at 350°F to retain texture and moisture.
- When microwaving, heat food in short increments and check frequently to prevent overcooking edges or rubbery textures. Stir between increments.
How long can fast food be left unrefrigerated?
So how long does fast food last? Unfortunately, there is no standard answer because it depends on the specific item and storage conditions.
Any food that has been opened and then not kept in a refrigerator can spoil faster than usual, so it’s best to eat or freeze them as soon as possible.
How long does fast food last in the fridge?
Refrigeration slows down the growth of bacteria, so all food may last longer when kept in a refrigerator. For most fast food items, you can expect their quality to be at its best for up to three days if they are kept refrigerated.
Also, any partially thawed items should not be left out for more than two hours before being reheated or put back in the freezer. You can freeze any unopened or uneaten food items and use them later.
How to tell if fast food is bad, rotten, or spoiled?
Any food that has gone bad will typically show signs of spoilage such as changes in texture, color, flavor, smell, and even increases in heat due to bacterial growth. If you notice any changes in the quality of your food, throw it out immediately to avoid getting sick.
Know the right way to store your fast food to increase its shelf life. Keep your fridge or freezer set at their correct temperatures and keep all items sealed tightly in air-tight containers until it’s time to eat.
The Bottom Line
With so many people asking how long fast food lasts, we hope this blog post has provided helpful information. If you have any other questions about the shelf life of different types of foods or if there is anything else you would like to know, please leave a comment below!