How long is opened baby food good for
Keeping your baby’s food safe
Eileen Haraminac, Michigan State University Extension -
Infants less than a year don’t have fully developed immune systems, because of this bacteria that may not cause illness in an adult or older child, can cause serious illness in infants and consequently they are often susceptible to food-borne illnesses.
Infants are often susceptible to food-borne illnesses. Infants less than one year of age do not have fully developed immune systems and because of this bacteria that may not cause illness in an adult or older child, can cause serious illness in infants. Parents and caregivers can reduce this risk with safe food handling practices. It is always important to safeguard food for infants and youth Michigan State University Extension and Foodsafety.gov offer these guidelines.
The most important practice you can do to keep food safe is to wash your hands. Your hands can pick up harmful pathogens and bacteria from tasks like diaper changing, feeding the dog, going to the bathroom or preparing raw meat or eggs. Always wash your hands after completing any of these tasks and especially when preparing infant foods.
For infants under six months old, the safe storage times for formula and expressed breast milk are between three to eight days in a refrigerator at 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees F. Breast milk can be frozen for up to six to 12 months at 0 degrees F. However, do not freeze formula. If you plan to give an infant water, it should be boiled water during the first three months of the infant’s life. Milk and formula for six to 12 month old babies may be stored for 48 hours in the refrigerator. The same three to eight day time limit applies for milk, and the “do not freeze” rule applies to formula.
- For unopened cans of formula observe and follow the “use by” dates. For baby food, check “use by” dates when storing unopened jars. Check to see that the safety button on the lid is down before opening. If the lid does not “pop” when the jar is opened or if the jar is not sealed, do not use the food.
- For plastic pouches: Discard any packages that are swelling or leaking.
- Don’t feed your baby directly from the jar of baby food. Instead, put a small serving of food on a clean dish and refrigerate the remaining food in the jar. If the baby needs more food, use a clean spoon to serve another portion. Throw away any food in the dish that’s not eaten. If you do feed a baby from a jar, always discard any remaining food. The baby’s salvia mixed with the unused food in the jar can start producing bacteria.
- When traveling, keep milk and formula cold (less than 41 degrees F) by transporting bottles in an insulated cooler with an ice pack
- For microwave heating, transfer food from unopened jars to bowls or dishes. For adequate heating, heat four ounces of food on high for 15 seconds, stir, and let stand for 30 seconds. Stir again and check the temperature (more than 140 degrees F) before feeding food to the infant.
- Never allow opened jars of food to sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Solid baby foods that have been opened may be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of three days. Strained fruits and vegetables can be refrigerated for two to three days and stored in the freezer for six to eight months. Strained meats and eggs may be stored one day in the refrigerator and one to two months in the freezer. Meat and vegetable combinations are good for one to two days in the refrigerator and one to two months in the freezer.
- Homemade baby foods will keep for one to two days in the refrigerator and three to four months in the freezer.
- Please remember that once commercial formulas or foods are opened you need to use them immediately and refrigerate the unused portion quickly after you are done. When you use the refrigerated leftovers, heat them quickly to 165 degrees F to prevent growth of bacteria.
Following these food safety practices will safeguard your baby’s food, keeping them safe from potential pathogens that cause food borne illness.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
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How Long Does Baby Food Last After Opening It? How To Reduce Waste
I love buying baby food more than just about anything. The bright colors, the velvety purées, and the seemingly endless choices can keep me happily browsing the shelves until my shopping partner needs a diaper change. But no matter how meticulously I plan my grocery trips, I inevitably end up with extras that my baby doesn’t eat right away. It begs the question: How long does baby food last after being opened? Is it something you can save for later and feed to them the next day, or should you just toss it?
How long your baby food will last depends on a few things. For instance, are you saving veggies or meat-based products? Is it store-bought or homemade food? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can store opened (store-bought) fruit and vegetable baby food in the refrigerator for two days, but you should toss store-bought meat and egg products after one. Homemade baby foods can last one to two days when properly refrigerated. It’s important to check the packaging on every product, though, as the specific guidelines may vary depending on ingredients and packaging. Here’s the nitty gritty on the safety of baby food leftovers, as explained by pediatricians and baby nutrition experts.
How long does store-bought baby food last?Guido Mieth/Moment/Getty Images
“Unopened, most baby food should have 12 to 24 months of shelf life,” says Jason Jacobs, vice president of quality and technical services at Beech-Nut Baby Nutrition Company. Generally speaking, you can refrigerate opened store-bought fruit and vegetable baby food for two days, and opened store-bought meat and egg products for one day, per the FDA.
Keep in mind that storage recommendations differ depending on the packaging you choose. Those handy pouches? You should refrigerate baby food pouches within an hour of opening and toss them after 24 hours, no matter what they contain, according to Sarah Smith-Simpson, principal scientist of sensory and consumer insights at Nestlé Gerber.
Opened baby food should never be stored in the refrigerator if your baby has had any direct contact with it. The best way to save food is to spoon it onto a plate or bowl and let your baby take it from there. “If your baby’s saliva has touched it, then it should be thrown out right away,” advises Dr. Preeti Parikh, M.D., board-certified pediatrician and executive medical director at GoodRx. “The saliva from the baby's mouth can introduce harmful bacteria into the baby’s food,” she adds.
Remember, you can always check this stuff with your pediatrician — they're invested in the health of your baby, and foodborne illness presents serious risks. Many baby food manufacturers like Gerber offer 24-hour helplines, so if in doubt, give them a call.
You should also be sure you don't leave opened baby food out longer than two hours at room temperature, advises Jacobs. And if you're taking a picnic this summer, toss opened baby food after one hour if temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
How long does homemade baby food last?
“If homemade baby food is cooked and canned [or] sealed properly, it can last as long as 12 months in a glass jar [before opening],” Jacobs tells Romper. You can also store homemade baby foods in the freezer for three months. Once it’s been opened, the FDA advises using homemade baby food within one to two days.
The same rules apply to homemade baby food in that you should never save leftovers from your baby’s plate or bowl. Food that has come into contact with her mouth, spoon, or hands might harbor harmful bacteria that can flourish even in the fridge or freezer. “Leftovers should not be put back into the original container or stored separately in the fridge,” board-certified pediatrician Dr. Pierrette Poinsett, M.D., tells Romper. Leftovers should be thrown out.” Rule of thumb: If your baby has eaten directly from the bowl or jar, pitch the leftovers.
Can you freeze opened baby food?Shutterstock
If there has been no saliva introduced to the food, Parikh says you can freeze opened baby food. “Freezing temps allow less likelihood of bacteria growing, so you can store it for a longer time,” she says. “The most important criteria is that no saliva has been introduced to the food.”
However, Smith-Simpson does not recommend freezing store-bought baby food. “First, many containers and pouches that are traditionally used for baby foods don’t hold up if frozen,” she tells Romper. “Second, once frozen, baby food can separate and change textures.” If you are going to freeze baby food, do so by putting it in small freezer bags or ice cube trays. Do not use glass containers, Poinsett tells Romper, as “the glass can shatter, and tiny glass chips can get into the food.”
If you can't remember how long that tub of baby food has been sitting in the fridge — I know my memory is shot — err on the side of caution and throw it out. Otherwise, follow the package directions carefully or look to FDA guidance to let you know how long you can keep it around.
Jason Jacobs, vice president of quality and technical services at Beech-Nut Nutrition Company
Sarah Smith-Simpson, principal scientist of sensory and consumer insights at Nestlé Gerber
Dr. Preeti Parikh, M.D., board-certified pediatrician and executive medical director at GoodRx
Dr. Pierrette Poinsett, M.D., board-certified pediatrician and medical consultant for Mom Loves Best
Additional reporting by Mackenzie Sylvester.
This article was originally published on
How to store baby puree correctly and for how long
When a baby grows up, in addition to breast milk, he is given various vegetable, fruit or meat purees. The proper development of the child's body will depend on the quality of complementary foods. Therefore, you should buy only fresh products from time-tested manufacturers. Where and how to store baby food puree, you can read on the jars. But it will not be superfluous to familiarize yourself with the general rules for storing food for babies in order to prevent poisoning, indigestion and other negative consequences of eating low-quality or expired products.
How to choose
When buying baby puree for future use, you must strictly follow the storage rules specified by the manufacturer. But if after opening the jar there are doubts about the quality of the product, you should not give it to a child. Better to play it safe and go for fresh mashed potatoes than put the child at risk of poisoning.
Quality fruit or vegetable puree should not contain any additives other than water and, moreover, preservatives.
Making a choice in favor of one or another type of product, first of all, its useful qualities are evaluated. Exotic fruits, for example, will not bring as much benefit to the children's body as an apple or a pumpkin.
The fruits and vegetables best absorbed by a child are those grown in the area where he lives. Therefore, when choosing baby puree, preference is given to products of local manufacturers. More natural and useful for the digestive system of our child will be puree from ordinary carrots, apples, pears, zucchini than from mangoes, bananas and other exotic fruits.
There are three types of baby puree packages:
- cardboard (Tetra Pak).
It is impossible to say exactly which package is better. Each of them has its own disadvantages and advantages.
- In glass container the product can be stored without fear that this material will somehow change the composition of the baby puree. At the same time, the small volume of the jar (100 ml) allows you to use its contents without residue. And in this case, you no longer have to store baby puree.
- In metal containers the shelf life of baby puree will be longer. In addition, it will not break in case of careless handling.
- Baby food in carton is the most budget option for low-income families. But this does not mean that the contents of the package are worse. Just monitor the safety of the product should be more carefully.
Pre-sealed baby food containers can be stored even at room temperature. The manufacturer creates a vacuum environment inside each of them, which minimizes the development of harmful microorganisms. But if the storage of baby puree occurs without a refrigerator, the product is placed in a cool place, closed from sunlight. It should be understood that when heated, the contents of the containers will deteriorate faster than the period specified by the manufacturer.
Tetra Pak carton packs are as convenient as glass or metal packs. In it, the product can also be stored for a long time. Unlike a glass jar, cardboard does not let in sunlight and is cheaper.
The disadvantage of cartons is their relative fragility. They are easily deformed and may lose their tightness during transportation.
While still in the store, you need to read the information that is present on the container with baby food. First of all, pay attention to the date of release of the product, and its expiration date.
At home, prepare baby puree immediately before use. Storage is contraindicated for it, since cooling and subsequent heating deprive the product of useful properties.
How long can homemade puree be kept when there is no other way out? No more than 24 hours in the refrigerator, and within 3 months in the freezer.
To freeze the product, it is laid out in ice molds and sent to the freezer. After solidification, the cubes are transferred to special freezer bags or food containers, after which the date must be indicated on them. Then the product is sent to the freezer for 3 months.
When preparing and freezing baby puree, use only sterile containers and cutlery.
Product can be defrosted on the refrigerator shelf or at room temperature.
Opened baby puree
The answer to the question of how long open baby puree can be stored can be found on the product packaging.
Most manufacturers do not recommend storing baby puree after opening in general . Or it allows it to be in the cold for no longer than 1 day. This will allow you to divide the product into 2 feedings, but you should not heat it directly in the jar. The necessary part of the puree is transferred to another container and heated. If you heat the entire jar, the shelf life of the baby puree that remains in it will be reduced to a few hours.
The temperature at which baby puree should be stored after opening should be between 0°C and +4°C. If you keep it in a warmer place, it will lose quality after 5 - 6 hours. The product cannot be kept on the refrigerator door due to constant temperature changes every time the door is opened.
- When closed baby puree can be stored at a maximum temperature of +22°C
- A after opening at a maximum of +4°C.
You can read the manufacturer's instructions for how long puree can be stored in the refrigerator, but if the jar is opened, it will not be possible to give the product to the child in a day.
Out of the refrigerator, opened baby food will retain its quality for up to 6 hours at temperatures up to +20°C, and no longer than 4 hours in an even warmer place.
If your baby consumes poor-quality products, it can lead to serious consequences, so you need to know how to store baby purees in jars (other packaging).
- Closed baby food containers should be kept in a dry, dark place. These are various closed cabinets, pantries, etc. There should not be heat sources nearby, otherwise bacteria will begin to actively develop even in closed packaging.
- Arrange the jars so that those with the earliest expiration date are closest. Accordingly, they must be used first.
- Lids on containers must always be tightly closed.
Do not feed your baby directly from the bottle if you plan to continue to store the contents. When children's saliva enters the container, the development of microorganisms occurs. Then the product becomes unusable.
If you leave an open jar right on the table, after 2 hours, bacteria dangerous to your baby's health will begin to develop in it.
It is categorically impossible to continue to store expired baby puree and, moreover, to offer it to a child. This can lead to severe poisoning.
If the product has not changed its appearance, smell and seems to be quite edible, but its expiration date has passed, it should not be given to children.
Every mother should know exactly how to store baby puree and strictly follow all the manufacturer's recommendations.
How long and how to properly store baby food
The type and quality of a child's nutrition in the first months and years of life depends on his health and proper development. But getting quality products is only part of the story. It is important to know how much baby food can be stored so that its subsequent use is healthy and safe for the baby.
Breastfeeding is considered to be the best for a small child, but the mother cannot always be present, so it is necessary to store the expressed breast milk in the refrigerator. It can then be reheated and used for feeding.
As the child grows, various milk porridges, fruit, vegetable, and then meat purees, etc. are gradually introduced into his diet. the quality and type of food consumed. Therefore, the question of how and where to store baby food in a family with babies should be paramount.
You should carefully study the manufacturer's recommendations on the rules for storing products of this type in a sealed bag and after opening it. And strictly adhere to them. It is necessary to observe the term and conditions of storage of baby food only according to the instructions on the package. It is necessary to adhere to the instructions even if it differs from the recommendations of other manufacturers of similar products.
If there is even a slight doubt about the quality of yogurt or vegetable puree, it is thrown away without much thought so as not to expose the baby to the danger of getting an eating disorder or, worse, serious poisoning.
Breast milk should be stored after expression in special sterile containers. It can be kept in bottles, cups, containers or plastic bags sold in pharmacies.
Breast milk containers should be graduated, sterile and easy to use. A sealed lid is a must.
The shelf life of breast milk after expression at +19°C to +22°C should not exceed 10 hours. At +22°С - +25°С this time is reduced to 4 - 6 hours.
At +25°C and above, breast milk can be stored for no longer than 2-3 hours.
In the main compartment of the refrigerator, you can leave the product for 24 hours, and if it is frozen - up to 3 - 4 months. At the same time, the freezer door should not be opened too often and for a long time.
Porridges for breeding
The shelf life of dry cereals and mixtures is quite long if the integrity of the package is not compromised. When products were purchased in cans, even after they have been opened, mixtures can be stored in their “native” packaging.
If dry mixes or cereals are packaged in bags or boxes, after they are opened, the contents are poured into another container. It is better if these are food containers with a tight-fitting lid.
How long baby food can be kept open depends on the conditions in which it is stored. Usually this period is 2 - 3 weeks. But if the product becomes damp or lumps form in it, it is better to throw it away immediately.
When the appearance of the porridge does not cause concern, but it is known that the package was opened more than 3 weeks ago, it is no longer possible to give it to the child. In extreme cases, it can be used in baking if it is intended for an adult.
Powdered infant formula should be stored at a low humidity level, protected from light. Dampness is the biggest enemy of such products. The measuring spoon for dosing the mixture should always be dry. And the packaging must be tightly sealed every time. At the same time, they try to squeeze out the remaining air from the bag so that the dry product does not absorb the moisture that is present in it.
Dry baby food should not be kept in the refrigerator as it will quickly become damp and spoil. After cooking porridge, it can be stored for 1 - 2 hours, no more.
Where to store baby food in jars
The storage temperature of baby puree in a closed jar should be up to +12°C, and after opening the container - +4°C.
If this product is not refrigerated, it will keep for up to 6 hours after opening the package at temperatures up to +20°C. And when the temperature rises - up to 4 hours.
Even a factory-sealed jar of juice or puree should be placed in a cool, dark place. The product will deteriorate before the warranty period if stored at +26°C or more.
Once opened, puree can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, provided that feeding is not done directly from the jar. Be sure to set aside the required amount in a cup with a clean spoon. The remaining mass is tightly closed with a lid and put on the shelf of the refrigerator. The portion of food that has been set aside is heated in a separate container, , but the whole jar of food is not heated .
If the baby is fed directly from the container containing the puree, its shelf life will be reduced to a few hours, even in the cold. This is due to the development of bacteria that enter the jar along with the child's saliva.
Baby meat puree can be stored in unsealed packaging for up to 1 day. Storage conditions are the same as for vegetable and fruit products. At the same time, it should be transferred from a metal jar to a dry, sterile glass container and tightly closed.
It is undesirable to leave meat products in the original jar after opening, even for a day. And in the form closed by the manufacturer, it is stored in accordance with the instructions.
Homemade cereals, purees and juices
This category of baby food has the same storage rules as diluted cereals.
Cooked porridge is crushed with a blender until a homogeneous mass is obtained, and then rubbed through a sieve. During the cooking process, various microbes from the air enter it, so the shelf life of homemade porridge for a baby is very short. It is generally undesirable to store home-made food addressed to young children (maximum - 2 hours). Juice, vegetable or fruit puree will quickly become dark as a result of oxidation. Therefore, if the child did not eat something right away, the product should be thrown away, given to the most voracious adult family member, or frozen.
- Ready-made purees or juices are frozen in portions in small sterile containers with a tight-fitting lid or covered with cling film.