How long is deli meat good?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long is deli meat good” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of deli meat in different conditions. Moreover, we are going to discuss how to tell if your deli meat has gone bad and the proper way to store deli meat.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long is deli meat good?

An opened package of deli meat stays good for about 3-5 days if stored at approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the fridge.

The unopened package of deli meat lasts for about 2 weeks in the fridge when stored appropriately.

Last but not least when it comes to the meat that is sliced at the deli counter, it lasts for about 2-5 days when kept in the fridge in an air-tight container at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of the deli meat and it can last for longer than this, provided that it is stored properly. 

You can read about different types of deli meat here.

Is deli meat safe to use after the best-before date?

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the package of deli meat refers to the quality rather than safety so the deli meat doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of deli meat but you can still use deli meat that is past this date as long as it was stored properly and there is no mold, off-smell, or off-flavor in it. 

How long does deli meat last in the freezer?

Deli meat lasts for about 1-2 months if it is stored properly in the freezer. In the case of the unopened deli meat, you can wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in the plastic freezer bag to ensure its protection from freezer burns.

In the case of the opened deli meat, you can first wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then place it in the plastic freezer bag or heavy-duty freezer container.

Can I refrigerate the reheated deli meat?

Once you have reheated your refrigerated or frozen deli meat, you should never refrigerate it again. 

The reason behind this is that when you heat the previously refrigerated or frozen deli meat, its temperature rises from 40 degrees Fahrenheit and that is the suitable temperature for bacteria to grow, thereby bacteria can grow at a faster pace and you should never refrigerate such deli meat again.

How long does deli meat last at room temperature?

Open deli meat lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. You should discard the deli meat that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the deli meat being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

How to tell if deli meat has gone bad?

Certain indicators point towards whether or not your deli meat has gone bad. You can tell whether or not your deli meat has gone bad by considering its appearance, texture, and smell.

  1. If you can see some off-coloration or if you can spot molds or dark spots on the surface of your deli meat then it is the indication that your deli meat has gone bad and you should discard it.
  2. If you can feel something slimy or gooey while touching your deli meat then it means that your deli meat has gone bad. 
  3. If you can smell something acidic, sour, or some ammonia-like smell while taking a sniff test of your deli meat then it means that it has gone bad and you should get rid of it. 

If you eat deli meat that has gone bad, it puts you at the risk of many food-borne illnesses especially food poisoning which is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.

How to properly store deli meat?

  1. You should always store your deli meat at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your deli meat at a lower temperature.
  2. Once opened, it is better to transfer the leftovers of deli meat in an air-tight container before storing it in the fridge.
  3. You should always use a plastic freezer bag or a heavy-duty freezer container to store your deli meat in the freezer.
  4. You should never leave your opened deli meat for more than 2 hours at room temperature and should discard the deli meat that was left in open for more than 2 hours.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long is deli meat good” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of deli meat in different conditions. Moreover, we discussed how to tell if your deli meat has gone bad and the proper way to store deli meat.

Citations

https://www.oola.com/life-in-flavor/2414962/how-long-is-deli-meat-good-for/

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-does-lunch-meat-stay-fresh

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-deli-meat-go-bad/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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