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Food Storage Life

FoodNew "Life Sustaining" Shelf-Life
Estimates (In Years)
White rice30+
Pinto beans30  
Rolled oats30  
Potato flakes30  
Apple slices30  
Non-fat powdered milk20  
Dehydrated carrots20  

Properly packaged, low-moisture foods stored at room temperature or cooler (75F/24C or lower) remain nutritious and edible much longer than previously thought according to findings of recent scientific studies. Estimated shelf life for many products has increased to 30 years or more (see chart for new estimates of shelf life). Previous estimates of longevity were based on "best-if-used-by" recommendations and experience. Though not studied, sugar, salt, baking soda (essential for soaking beans), and vitamin C in tablet form also store well long-term. Some basic foods do need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil every 1 to 2 years.

While there is a decline in nutritional quality and taste over time, depending on the original quality of food and how it was processed, packaged, and stored, the studies show that even after being stored long-term, the food will help sustain life in an emergency.

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