The Practical Reason You Should Never Buy Cold Cuts From Costco

Costco is famous for being a wholesale powerhouse, selling in bulk everything from clothes to dog food. Almond butter, frozen fruit and vegetables, cooking spray, pure vanilla extract, kosher salt, parchment paper, wine and other alcohol, quinoa and other grains, and frozen shrimp are all great staples to buy in bulk (via Insider). You can also buy an assortment of different meats at Costco to prepare for dinner, which is especially helpful for those with large families or who like meal prep.

Meats such as Rastelli Market Fresh Tomahawk Steaks and Kansas City Steak Company Filet Mignon offer quality and more bang for your buck. Likewise, you can't go wrong with Japanese Wagyu New York Strip Loin Roast on the list of meats you should buy from Costco. While these meats may be more pricey than what you buy at Walmart, they are cheaper on average than specialty butcher shops (via The Greatist). But, there's one type of meat you probably shouldn't buy at Costco because it's not practical –- cold cuts. 

According to Chef Lizzy Briskin, who writes for Insider, buying cold cuts at Costco just isn't practical. It can be difficult for smaller families or single people to finish off the meat before it ends up going bad.

It's best to purchase just enough cold cuts to last you a few days

Chef Lizzy Briskin recommends against buying cold cuts in bulk from Costco because cold cuts are best sliced and consumed as fresh as possible. Chef Craig Koketsu also agrees. In an interview with Money, he suggested skipping pre-packaged, suggesting instead to buy your own meat and do the slicing yourself. 

Since they're sold in bulk at Costco, it can be hard to eat all of a package of cold cuts before it spoils. So, in an effort to not waste money and food, Briskin and Koketsu say to stick to the deli counter or local butcher when getting cold cuts, and only buy a small amount that will be eaten within a few days. But how long is lunch meat safe to eat anyway?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), opened packages of lunch meat and cold cuts should be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder and consumed within three to five days after opening. Before being opened, packages of cold cuts can be kept in a refrigerator for as long as two weeks, or they can also be stored in a freezer that's at least 0 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as one to two months. Whether stored in a refrigerator or freezer, any packages of cold cuts that are kept longer run the risk of spoiling and leading to food poisoning if consumed.