Here's how to make sure this spicy condiment remains fresh, according to a food safety expert.   
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hot sauce being poured on a spoon
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If you like adding a bit (or a lot) of heat to your meals, then you probably keep hot sauce in your kitchen to spice up your favorite foods. But, when it comes to storing your hot sauce (or sauces), is the refrigerator or pantry best? For answers, we checked in with a food safety expert who just happens to have a special affinity for the stuff.

How to Store Hot Sauce After Opening

Tamika Sims, PhD, the senior director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council, says when in doubt, refrigerate hot sauce after it is opened. (Prior to opening, most hot sauce can be stored in a kitchen cabinet or pantry.) But, typically, the bottle will say whether the hot sauce you own needs to be refrigerated. "If this type of language is absent from the bottle, it is likely that refrigeration is not needed," says Sims. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends following the label instructions to ensure the best quality and safest food, since proper storage of all food, drinks, and condiments will help give the expected taste, color, texture, and safety of perishable items.

Is the Hot Sauce You Have Safe to Consume?

If the hot sauce has an uncharacteristic color, foul smell, or there has been a change in the texture of the sauce, these are signs that it has gone bad and should be tossed in the trash. Always err on the side of caution, says Sims. "If you are in doubt that a food has gone bad, it is best to throw it out."

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