Do deli meats have to be used within three days?
It depends. Prepackaged individually sliced deli meat must be used within three days after the package is opened. If the expiration date stamped on the package is less than three days after the package is opened, then the meat must be used by the expiration date. Not all deli meats are pre-sliced, some are in loaves that are between five and ten pounds in weight. Unsliced deli meat loaves do not need to be used within three days if properly handled. For example, after the package of a deli meat loaf is opened, the amounts that will be used that day and within three days must be wrapped, labeled, and refrigerated. The portions that cannot be used within three days should be cut into amounts that would be used within one day, wrapped, labeled, and frozen. Frozen portions are viewed as pre-prepared foods and so must be used within four weeks. Prepared: July 17, 2007 If you have questions, contact Dr. Angela Fraser, Associate Professor/Food Safety Education Specialist, Clemson University,