Food Safety Issues/smoked ham


I purchased a ham the package reads: smoked pork shoulder picnic water added. cook/serve. It is vacuum packed. The date packed is November 11, 2015. There is no best before date on the package. It has been refrigerated unopened. Is it still safe to cook and eat as it was packaged 26 days ago.

Dear Marjorie,

The general recommendation for a vacuum sealed smoked ham that does not have a a best if used by date on the package, is to refrigerate and use within 2 weeks of purchase or freeze and use within 2 months.

When did you purchase the ham?  If you purchased the ham 2 weeks ago then it would still be considered safe to consume.  If it is over 2 weeks ago, the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the ham.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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