Food Safety

General Shelf Lives For Common Items:
Flour unopened: up to 12 months. Opened: 6-8 months.

Sugar unopened: 2 years. Sugars do not spoil but eventually  may change flavor.

 Brown sugar unopened: 4 months.

 Confectioners sugar unopened: 18 months.

 Solid shortening unopened: 8 months. Opened: 3 months.

 Cocoa unopened: indefinitely. opened: 1 year.

 Whole spices: 2-4 years. Whether or not opened.

 Ground spices: 2-3 years. Whether or not opened.

 Paprika, red pepper and chili powder: 2 years

 Baking soda unopened: 18 months. Opened: 6 months.

 Baking powder unopened: 6 months. Opened: 3 months.

 Cornstarch: 18 months. Whether or not opened.

 Dry pasta made without eggs unopened: 2 years. Opened: 1 year.

 Dry egg noodles unopened: 2 years. Opened: 1-2 months.

 Salad dressing unopened: 10-12 months. Opened: 3 months if refrigerated.

 Honey: 1 year. Whether or not opened.  

Ground, canned coffee unopened: 2 years. Opened: 2 weeks, if refrigerated.

 Jams, jellies and preserves unopened: 1 year. Opened: 6 months if refrigerated.

 Peanut butter unopened: 6-9 months. Opened: 2-3 months.

- Barbecues and Picnics -
 * Try to plan just the right amount of foods to take. That way, you won't have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers. 
 * When taking foods off the grill, put them on a clean plate, not  the same platter that held raw meat. 
 * When preparing dishes like chicken or cooked meat salads, use  chilled ingredients. In other words, make sure your cooked  chicken has been cooked and chilled before it gets mixed with    other salad ingredients. 
 * It's a good idea to use a separate cooler for drinks, so the one containing perishable food won't be constantly opened and closed. 
 * A cooler chest can also be used to keep hot food hot. Line the  cooler with a heavy kitchen towel for extra insulation and place  well wrapped hot foods inside. It's amazing how long the foods  will stay not only warm, but hot. Try to use a cooler that is  just the right size to pack fairly tightly with hot food so  less heat escapes.
 * Wash ALL fresh produce thoroughly. When preparing  lettuce, break into pieces - then wash.
 * Cook foods to the required minimum cooking temperatures:
     - 165 F > Poultry, poultry stuffing, and stuffed meat.
     - 158 F > Ground Beef, fish, and seafood.
     - 150 F > Pork and food containing pork.
     - 145 F > shell eggs and foods containing shell eggs.
  * Separate raw animal foods from other raw or ready-to-eat  foods during storage and preparation.
  * Cool leftovers as quickly as possible. Reheat to  165 F before serving again.
     Bacteria on food will rapidly multiply when left at a  temperature between 45 F and 140 F. Avoid this danger zone as much as possible.