While the plastic packaging might appear to keep your sandwich fixings fresh, as soon as the slices are separated at the deli counter, their freshness begins to wane. Most sliced meat producers, including Boar’s Head Brand, recommend that their products be consumed within three to five days of purchase, though it should be safe to eat them within 7 to 10 days of the sell-by date. Signs it’s gone bad: If it feels extremely slimy, if it smells remotely of vinegar, ammonia, or yeast, or if there’s any mold or other growth on the meat or the package.
Heavily processed meats often have a longer shelf-life, but it’s not forever. In an unopened package, hot dogs stay good for about two weeks in the refrigerator, according to the FDA. Once you open the plastic, the window drops to one week. A cooked hot dog can last an additional week, so get creative with recipes if time is running out. Hot dogs are just one of many. Be sure you aren’t chowing down on these 13 more foods you should never, ever eat past the expiration date.