Temperature charts, which are generally found in commercial refrigerators, indicate how long food can be safely kept before it risks spoiling. State laws often mandate that refrigerators have appropriate charts.
Refrigerators keep food near the point of freezing, but they generally aren't cold enough to kill bacteria. While they often slow the spread of bacteria, they don't halt its growth completely. As a result, food can only be kept safely in a refrigerator for a limited period of time. Food stored in a freezer, on the other hand, can generally be kept for months, although the freezing process can affect the taste and texture of the food.