How long can poke last in the fridge?
In this article, we will find out about the shelf life of poke under different storage conditions, and how to store it for extended shelf life and the risks of eating poke past the expiration date.
How long can poke last in the fridge?
If stored properly at refrigeration temperature (4°C or lower), and in airtight containers, poke can last for up to 2 days (1).
However, in the case of a ready-to-eat poke that you don’t know if it was properly stored, you should not store the poke without cooking it first. The raw fish in a poke is the main risk factor that limits the shelf life of this dish (2).
Can you eat poke the next day?
Yes, you can eat poke the next day, if it was not kept unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours at room temperature or one hour above 90°F (30°C) on a warm day (3).
Similarly to sushi, poke is made with raw fish and therefore has a short shelf life. According to studies, sushi is only safe to consume after 2 days if it was kept at 4°C (40°F) during the entire storage time (1).
What are the risks of storing poke?
The risks of storing poke are the hazards related to the risks of storing and eating stored raw fish. Raw fish is highly susceptible to spoilage, as it may carry several pathogenic bacteria and parasites, such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Salmonella and viruses (1).
The consumption of raw and undercooked fish has caused many episodes of food outbreaks worldwide and is not recommended, especially in the case of pregnant women, elderly, infants and immunocompromised individuals (4).
Possible symptoms of foodborne illnesses are vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body ache.
During storage, bacteria may develop rapidly in the food and achieve high counts, posing a risk to the consumer (1).
How to store poke?
Poke should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator in a cold place, away from the refrigerator door to avoid temperature fluctuations (3).
How to know if poke is spoiled?
To know if poke is spoiled, you should be able to identify possible signs of spoilage. However, even when the raw fish does not present any sign of spoilage, its contamination can be high and dangerous (1).
In general, spoiled fish have fishy, sour, or ammonia-like off-odors. Slime on the surface is another common sign (5). However, a study showed that even having a very high microbial count which would bring a health risk for the consumer, the raw fish in sushi didn’t have an evident unpleasant smell.
Therefore, it is safer to cook the leftover poke after one day of storage or to throw it away.
What can you do to store poke longer?
To store poke for longer than two days, you will need to cook the poke. Cooking can partially destroy the microorganisms and improve the safety of its consumption.
Psychrophilic bacteria, which are commonly found in fish, are sensitive to heat treatments, therefore cooking can increase the shelf life of foods containing fish (6).
Cooked fish has a shelf life of 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and can be also frozen for up to 2 months (7).
To properly cook fish, you should heat it to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F (measured with a food thermometer), till the flesh is clear and separates easily with a fork (4).
To consume cooked poke after storing, reheat to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F.
In this article, we discussed the shelf life of poke under different storage conditions, how to make poke with the best ingredients, and how to store it for extended shelf life.
- Hoel, Sunniva, Anita Nordeng Jakobsen, and Olav Vadstein. Effects of storage temperature on bacterial growth rates and community structure in fresh retail sushi. J App Microbiol, 2017, 123, 698-709.
- Abraham, Lauren. Aiding the Reintroduction of Limu Products in Kaneohe. Diss. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2023.
- Safe Handling of Take-Out Foods. 2013. USDA.
- Selecting and Serving Fresh and Frozen Seafood Safely. US Food and Drug Administration.
- Niinivaara, Fritz P., Ritva-Liisa Sihvola, and Jorma J. Laine. Rainbow trout (Salmo irideus) produced in Finland I. Bacterial spoilage and amino acid composition of fresh rainbow trout during refrigerated storage. Agri Food Sci, 1966, 38, 210-220.
- Vaz-Pires, P., Christopher Capell, and Roy Kirby. Low‐level heat‐treatment to extend shelf‐life of fresh fish. Int j food sci technol, 1994, 29, 405-413.
- Foodkeeper. United States Department of Agriculture.