Safe handling of dairy, cheese and eggs


General tips

Dairy products, including milk, cream, half and half, butter, yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese, should be the last items you select on your shopping trip.

Make sure they are cold and packages are not broken or leaking.

Refrigerate your purchases as soon as possible. Put dairy, cheese and eggs in a cooler with ice if you don't go directly home after shopping.

Never allow dairy products to remain at room temperature more than 2 hours.

Cheeses with high moisture content should be refrigerated promptly.

Opened butter should be covered in the refrigerator.

Dairy products storage chart

Product Keep refrigerated
Milk 1 week
Cream/Half 'n' Half 10 days
Sour Cream, opened 2 to 4 weeks
Yogurt, opened 1 to 2 weeks
Butter, opened 1 to 2 weeks


Raw Eggs

Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria that grow rapidly at room temperature but proper cooking destroys the bacteria. To prevent foodborne illness:

Buying & storing eggs

Always refrigerate eggs. Don't keep eggs out of the refrigerator more than 2 hours.

Make sure the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked. (You do not need to wash eggs.)

Store eggs in their original carton.

Use raw eggs within 3 to 5 weeks for best quality.

You can freeze eggs for future use (within 1 year), but do not freeze eggs in their shells. Beat yolks and whites together to freeze whole eggs; egg whites also can be frozen.

Egg storage chart

Product Keep refrigerated
Raw eggs in shell 3 to 5 weeks
Raw egg whites 2 to 4 days
Raw egg yolks 2 to 4 days
Casseroles made with eggs 3 to 4 days
Pies and custard 3 to 4 days
Quiche with any kind of filling 3 to 4 days

Cooking with eggs

Keep eggs separate from other foods, especially those that will not be cooked.

When preparing baked goods, do not taste the batter, filling, or dough if it contains raw eggs.

Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm, not runny, and scramble until there is no visible liquid egg.

Raw eggs and other ingredients, combined according to recipe directions, should be cooked immediately or refrigerated and cooked within 24 hours.

Serve cooked eggs and dishes containing eggs immediately after cooking, or place in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerate at once for later use. Use within 3 to 4 days.

Serving eggs

  • Use hard-cooked eggs within 1 week.
  • Consume egg dishes within 3 to 4 days.
  • Eggs should never be consumed after being left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.
  • If taking cooked eggs to work or school, pack them with ice, a frozen gel pack, or another frozen food.



Although there are many different types of cheeses, some general safety guidelines apply.

Refrigerate solid cheese in its original wrap until opened.

If mold is visible on solid cheese, trim it off, as well as a half inch piece around it. (You don't have to do this for blue cheeses or other cheeses ripened with harmless mold.)

Ricotta, cottage cheese and other soft cheeses should be thrown away when mold is visible.

Do not leave cheeses with high water content, such as ricotta or mozzarella, out of the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours.

Hard cheesed can be frozen if wrapped tightly. Thaw cheese in the refrigerator and use within a few days.

Cheese Storage Chart

Cheese type Refrigerate
Cottage cheese opened, 3 days
Soft cheese (such as ricotta) 1 week
Cream cheese 2 weeks
Hard or waxed cheese (such as cheddar, Gouda, Swiss) Unopened, 3 to 6 months
Opened, 3 to 4 weeks
Sliced, 2 weeks

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