This column is a continuation of the first. Are foods safe to eat after the date passes? With an exception of infant formula described below , if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident chill refrigerate promptly. Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor, or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria. If a food has developed such spoilage characteristics, it should not be eaten. Microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria can multiply and cause food to spoil. Viruses are not capable of growing in food and do not cause spoilage.
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Closed dating is a code that consists of letters and/or numbers; it is applied by manufacturers to identify the date and time that they produced.
It can also help the purchaser to know the time limit to purchase or use the product at its best quality. It is not a safety date. Cans must exhibit a packing code to enable tracking of the product in interstate commerce. This enables manufacturers to rotate their stock as well as to locate their products in the event of a recall. There is no book or web site that tells how to translate the codes into dates.
Most canned food has a shelf life of at least two 2 years from the date of processing. Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color or texture.
July 27, – Author: Joyce McGarry. These numbers can cause confusion, and often deciphering them can be like solving a mystery. The consumer can easily read an open date. Only manufacturers know the meaning of these dates. They probably confuse consumers the most. Joyce McGarry mcgarryj msu.
numbers (“closed dating”) to be used on shelf-stable products or if a *suggested dates days PAST code date, assumes product has not been.
Date code listings below One of the most frequently asked questions about canned food is its shelf life and “use-by” dates. The codes that are stamped on canned food are manufacturers’ codes that usually designate the date the product was packaged. The codes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and usually include coding for time and place of canning. Most manufacturers offer a toll-free number to call for questions about canned food expiration dates.
For a sampling of how to read product codes, See Below. Remember, the code stamped on the can is when it was packaged. The general rule of thumb is that canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of purchase. Many canned products now have a “for best quality use by” date stamped on the top or bottom of the can.
Canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of processing. Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture. Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile. Food safety is not an issue in products kept on the shelf or in the pantry for long periods of time.
What do the terms “closed dating” and “open dating” mean?
Food packaging contains a wealth of information to help you decide which foods to choose to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are two types of dating that usually are displayed on a food product: “Open Dating” and “Closed Dating. Except for infant formulas, product dates are not expiration dates. They indicate when a product should be used for best quality. The terms “sell by,” “best by” and “use by,” may give you a reference for how long a food might last but learning more about the difference between these terms can help reduce the amount of food waste in the home and improve your food safety knowledge.
This is because foodborne pathogens can contaminate foods that aren’t properly stored and handled.
“Closed” or “coded” dating might appear on shelf-stable products such as cans and boxes of food. Types of Dates. A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to.
In the event we need to bring product back or trace an issue with the production, the code date is our main source of information. We want to make sure we have the most accurate shelf life while still maintaining and communicating the utmost attention to food safety. It is important to note that the United States does not have a uniform system of coding expiration dates on food products, according to the U.
Department of Agriculture. The federal government requires expiration dates only on baby foods and infant formula. Other dating on food products is voluntary, and this is one reason why manufacturers use different terms and why similar products from different manufacturers may have completely different variations for their own date qualifiers. In the end, consumers should always pay attention to the instructions on the package and use their best judgment about food products.
How should date codes be interpreted?
Shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale. It applies to cosmetics , foods and beverages , medical devices , medicines , explosives , pharmaceutical drugs , chemicals , tyres , batteries , and many other perishable items. In some regions, an advisory best before , mandatory use by or freshness date is required on packaged perishable foods.
In most cases, this is not true. Date codes relate more to quality than safety. In general, there are two types of date codes: open and closed. Understanding these two types of date codes can help you determine what products to use when, reducing unnecessary food waste. Open date codes are most commonly seen on food and drinks. They provide a calendar date to identify when a food will be at its best quality. Open dating is legally required on infant formula, but voluntary on other products.
You will often see open dating on meat, poultry and dairy products. Here are the most common types of open dates and what they mean:. Even though open dating is not indicative of food safety, it can be helpful in understanding if the quality of the item is impacted. Closed date codes are packing numbers for manufacturer use only. Like open dating, they are not intended to provide information about the safety of the product.
Product Dating FAQ
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Deciphering date codes on canned goods
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“Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer. What do can codes mean? Cans must exhibit a packing code to enable tracking of the.
Expiration dates can be hard to locate on a product and even more challenging to decipher. Currently, the United States does not have a regulated or standard system for coding expiration dates on food, except for those on baby food and infant formula. All other dates and codes are added voluntarily by manufacturers. There are two types of expiration date codes on products. The first type is open dating, which uses a standard time or calendar date.
Use-by dates are intended for consumers and indicate when a product will start to deteriorate, while the latter two are for grocery stores to know how long to keep products displayed on the shelves. Typically, products are good for seven to ten days past their sell-by or pull-by dates. However, this is only a guideline. For instance, even the posted sell-by or best-if-used-by label found on many dry goods, such as canned food items, may not reflect the most accurate shelf life of these products.
Canned goods may in fact last months beyond the expiration code if stored and handled effectively. Closed coding is another form of listing expiration dates on products. These codes are typically a short string of numbers and sometimes letters stamped at the top or bottom of products. Unlike open dating, closed coding is used not by consumers, but by manufacturers to assist with inventory tracking. Expired products have the power to sink your sales and turn away customers from your grocery store.