How Long Does Bologna Last in the Fridge?

by Charlie
Published: Last Updated on
How Long Does Bologna Last in the Fridge

Are you considering storing your bologna in the fridge for several days and confused about how long the bologna can last in the fridge without going bad? 

Over the years, a handful of people have debated how long bologna can last without going bad. What is the best way to store your bologna?

How long does bologna last in the fridge? Research conducted by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA on luncheon meats, like bologna, showed that unopened bologna can stay fresh in the fridge for approximately two weeks. In addition, opened bologna can last for about 3 to 5 days without going bad. 

However, the storage temperature plays a role, as bologna storage will be greatly affected by an unfavorable temperature.

How Long Can Bologna Last at Room Temperature?

Although unopened bologna can last up to 2 weeks in a fridge, it cannot last for more than 2 hours at room temperature and should be discarded if kept at room temperature for over 2 hours.

Bologna has a low tolerance for room temperature. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you store your bologna in the fridge immediately after you purchase it from the store, as room temperature can facilitate the rapid growth of bacteria. 

How to Tell if Bologna Has Gone Bad

You can tell if bologna has gone bad when you notice slimy or sticky surfaces, sour smell, discoloration, and/or mold.

When bologna starts having a slimy or sticky surface, there is a high possibility that it has gone bad. Although the slimy and sticky surface might not mean that the bologna is no longer edible, there is a possibility that the stickiness might be caused by other items stored in the fridge. 

Sometimes, thoroughly washing the bologna will take away the sticky surface, and the meat will be fine for consumption.

When bologna starts to exhibit a sour smell, this indicates that the bologna has gone bad. Usually, it takes a while for bologna to smell if kept in the fridge. But when the fridge is not tuned to a favorable temperature, the bologna tends to spoil and produce a rotten or stale meat smell quickly. 

Bologna discoloration is a physical sign that the bologna has gone bad. The original color of the bologna will change and will become dark. However, a slight discoloration shouldn’t raise alarms as discoloration can occur if the bologna is stored in a fridge for a while. 

It is important to note that if the discoloration is far from its original color, the bologna is no longer edible and should be disposed of.

An extreme feature of bad bologna is mold. Like every other lunch meat, when bologna is bad for consumption, mold starts to grow on the meat. Especially when stored in a fridge, spotting mold should cause worry and a reason to stay away from such bologna. 

Mold prefers to grow in warm temperatures; however, mold can grow in cold temperatures as well.

How Can You Store Bologna in the Fridge to Last Longer?

It has already been established that room temperature is not the best location to store bologna. The meat suffers greatly when kept out of the fridge for more than 2 hours; therefore, the fridge is a reliable option for bologna storage. 

However, there are multiple ways to successfully store bologna in the fridge, such as:  

Storing Bologna in a Freezer:

The colder the temperature, the more favorable it is for bologna storage. According to experts, bologna can last up to a month in the freezer

Freezing bologna will help freeze and preserve the meat for a longer period of time, although the bologna might suffer a slight discoloration. 

Coving the Bologna Adequately:

To avoid air-bacteria reactions that may threaten the edibility of bologna, it is strongly recommended that you cover the bologna in a container or air-tight bag. Still, some people argue that covering bologna to help prevent air infiltration is not a guaranteed storage procedure. 

However, if sealed and kept in the fridge, bologna will last for several days and possibly a week without spoilage. 

Reading the Package Details:

Read the bologna package to settle any doubts. By doing that, you will avoid all the shortcuts and difficulty that comes with storing your bologna.

Knowing the expiration date on the package is a key component to successfully storing bologna. Therefore, you should check the package date to know if the bologna is still within the safe period to consume.

What Should You Expect After Eating Bad Bologna

Naturally, if you eat bad or expired food, you might have some medical setbacks and problems related to food poisoning. Lunch meats like bologna can get spoiled even if stored under an appropriate temperature for longer than 5 days. 

Consuming bad bologna can make you sick. You might have symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea, etc. It is advised that you immediately see your doctor for professional assessment and treatment. 

Final Thoughts 

Like most meat, bologna has a very low tolerance for heat. Therefore, it will go bad within hours if not stored in the fridge or freezer immediately. Unopened bologna will remain edible for about two weeks when stored in the fridge. 

Furthermore, although the food may be edible, it might start losing its taste after a few days.

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