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Expiration Dates on Food Packaging Provided by Barbara Brown, Ph.D., R.D./L.D., Food Specialist Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Associate Professor,

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Presentation on theme: "Expiration Dates on Food Packaging Provided by Barbara Brown, Ph.D., R.D./L.D., Food Specialist Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Associate Professor,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Expiration Dates on Food Packaging Provided by Barbara Brown, Ph.D., R.D./L.D., Food Specialist Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Associate Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences

2 Today you will learn: How to use open dating How to use open dating How to interpret the date on egg cartons How to interpret the date on egg cartons What you can learn from closed dating (coded) What you can learn from closed dating (coded) 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service2

3 Think about it… Sally found a carton of eggs in her refrigerator with a date that has already passed. Eggs are expensive these days and she decides to use them anyway. Sally found a carton of eggs in her refrigerator with a date that has already passed. Eggs are expensive these days and she decides to use them anyway. What would you do? What would you do? 20093Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

4 Is dating required by federal law? In general, no In general, no Required for infant formula & some baby food Required for infant formula & some baby food If use calendar date: If use calendar date: Must give month, day, & year (on shelf-stable & frozen products) Must give month, day, & year (on shelf-stable & frozen products) Immediately next to date must be phrase explaining meaning of date ("sell-by" or "use before) Immediately next to date must be phrase explaining meaning of date ("sell-by" or "use before) 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service4

5 Dating formula & baby food Dating is for quality & nutrient retention Dating is for quality & nutrient retention Federal regulations require "use-by" date on infant formula & baby food under FDA inspection Federal regulations require "use-by" date on infant formula & baby food under FDA inspection 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service5

6 Dating formula & baby food If eaten date on container, formula or food must contain at least the quantity of each nutrient as described on label If eaten date on container, formula or food must contain at least the quantity of each nutrient as described on label Formula must be able to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple Formula must be able to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service6

7 Dating formula & baby food Use-by" date chosen by manufacturer, packer or distributor based on product analysis throughout its shelf life; tests; or other information Also based on conditions of handling, storage, preparation & use printed on label Do not buy or use baby formula or baby food after its "use-by" date 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service7

8 Who does require food product dating? U.S. has is no uniform system U.S. has is no uniform system Over 20 states require dating of some foods Over 20 states require dating of some foods In some areas of much of food supply has some type date, in other areas almost, no food is dated In some areas of much of food supply has some type date, in other areas almost, no food is dated 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service8

9 2 types of dates "Open Dating: uses a calendar date "Open Dating: uses a calendar date Date stamped on package to help store determine how long to display product for sale Date stamped on package to help store determine how long to display product for sale Helps buyer know time limit to purchase or use product at its best quality Helps buyer know time limit to purchase or use product at its best quality Is not a safety date Is not a safety date Closed Dating: uses a code on food product Closed Dating: uses a code on food product 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service9

10 What Types of Food Are Dated? Open dating found primarily on perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereal, baked goods Open dating found primarily on perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereal, baked goods "Closed" or "coded used on some shelf-stable products "Closed" or "coded used on some shelf-stable products Cans & boxes Cans & boxes 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service10

11 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service11 Open Dating Date easy to identify & interpret Date easy to identify & interpret Date beyond which quality may fall below normal level Date beyond which quality may fall below normal level

12 Types of open dating "Sell-By" date: tells store how long to display product for sale "Sell-By" date: tells store how long to display product for sale Buy product before date expires Buy product before date expires Food still good for a period of time at home if properly stored & handled Food still good for a period of time at home if properly stored & handled Freezing makes date useless Freezing makes date useless 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service12

13 Types of open dating "Best if Used By (or Before)" date: recommended for best flavor or quality "Best if Used By (or Before)" date: recommended for best flavor or quality Not a purchase or safety date Not a purchase or safety date After date has passed there may be noticeably drop in quality After date has passed there may be noticeably drop in quality 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service13

14 Types of open dating "Use-By" date: last date recommended for use of product while at peak quality "Use-By" date: last date recommended for use of product while at peak quality Date determined by manufacturer Date determined by manufacturer 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service14

15 What about eggs? Manufacturers not required to put expiration or sell-by date on egg cartons Manufacturers not required to put expiration or sell-by date on egg cartons Cartons must show when eggs were packed Cartons must show when eggs were packed 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service15

16 Example Carton stamped P SELL BY Apr 8 Carton stamped P SELL BY Apr 8 Sometimes stamp reads P EXP Apr 8 Sometimes stamp reads P EXP Apr 8 Last 3 digits of the first number indicate pack date, using the Julian calendar Last 3 digits of the first number indicate pack date, using the Julian calendar In Julian dating system, the number represents the consecutive days of the year In Julian dating system, the number represents the consecutive days of the year Jan 1 = 001, Dec 31 = 365 (or 366 in a leap year) Jan 1 = 001, Dec 31 = 365 (or 366 in a leap year) This carton packed on day 070 (Mar 11) This carton packed on day 070 (Mar 11) 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service16

17 P SELL BY Apr 8 American Egg Board: fresh shell eggs can be stored in their cartons in refrigerator for 4-5 weeks beyond pack date without significant quality loss American Egg Board: fresh shell eggs can be stored in their cartons in refrigerator for 4-5 weeks beyond pack date without significant quality loss Eggs would be good until April 8th or 15th Eggs would be good until April 8th or 15th 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service17

18 Recommendations for eggs Always buy eggs before "Sell-By" or "EXP" date on carton Always buy eggs before "Sell-By" or "EXP" date on carton At home, refrigerate eggs in original carton, in coldest part of refrigerator, not in door At home, refrigerate eggs in original carton, in coldest part of refrigerator, not in door For best quality, use within 3-5 weeks of purchase date For best quality, use within 3-5 weeks of purchase date Sell-by or EXP date will usually expire during that time, but eggs are safe to use Sell-by or EXP date will usually expire during that time, but eggs are safe to use 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service18

19 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service19 Dates are not a guide for safe use of foods Tips: Tips: Buy before date expires Buy before date expires Follow handling recommendations on food Follow handling recommendations on food

20 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service20 Refrigerate or freeze Perishables: take home immediately & refrigerate promptly Freeze if can't use in time recommended Once frozen, date doesn't matter Foods kept frozen continuously are safe indefinitely

21 Coded or closed dating Used for canned/packaged foods with long shelf life Used for canned/packaged foods with long shelf life 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service21

22 What is in the code Code not readable by consumers Code not readable by consumers Provides info on date & place of packing Provides info on date & place of packing Useful in recalls Useful in recalls Required on low-acid, canned foods Required on low-acid, canned foods Some companies will give information on what the code means if asked Some companies will give information on what the code means if asked 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service22

23 Cracking canned food codes No uniform coding system used No uniform coding system used Some tell day, month, year of production Some tell day, month, year of production Some only give year Some only give year Others numbers refer to specific plant manufacturing or product information Others numbers refer to specific plant manufacturing or product information Usually found on top or bottom of can Usually found on top or bottom of can 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service23

24 Reading can codes Each canned food manufacturer has unique coding system Each canned food manufacturer has unique coding system 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service24

25 Deciphering the date (not universally used) For month coding, if a number is used, numbers 1-9 = Jan-Sept, & letters O=Oct, N=Nov, D=Dec For month coding, if a number is used, numbers 1-9 = Jan-Sept, & letters O=Oct, N=Nov, D=Dec If letters are used, A=Jan & L=Dec., unless otherwise noted If letters are used, A=Jan & L=Dec., unless otherwise noted For year coding, 0=2000; 1=2001; 2=2002, 3=2003, etc For year coding, 0=2000; 1=2001; 2=2002, 3=2003, etc 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service25

26 Examples Del Monte Foods Del Monte Foods First line, four digits First line, four digits Position 1: Year Position 1: Year Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date Example: 9045 (February 14, 2009) Example: 9045 (February 14, 2009) Bush Brothers & Co Bush Brothers & Co Four digits: Four digits: Position 1: Month Position 1: Month Position 2 and 3: Day Position 2 and 3: Day Position 4: Year Position 4: Year Example: 2069 (February 6, 2009) Example: 2069 (February 6, 2009) 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service26

27 General can storage times If cans remain in good condition & have been stored in cool, clean, dry place If cans remain in good condition & have been stored in cool, clean, dry place High-acid foods can be stored on shelf mo. High-acid foods can be stored on shelf mo. Low-acid foods keep 2- 5 years Low-acid foods keep 2- 5 years 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service27

28 Once the package/can is open Any date is no longer meaningful Any date is no longer meaningful Store correctly to extend shelf- lifesee charts in handout Store correctly to extend shelf- lifesee charts in handout 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service28

29 Tips to determining storage time for top quality Buy the food before date expires Buy the food before date expires Take perishable food home immediately after purchase, refrigerate promptly Take perishable food home immediately after purchase, refrigerate promptly Freeze food if wont be used it within times recommended on chart in handout Freeze food if wont be used it within times recommended on chart in handout Follow handling recommendations on product Follow handling recommendations on product Consult storage chart in handout Consult storage chart in handout 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service29

30 What would you do? Sally found a carton of eggs in her refrigerator with a date that has already passed. Eggs are expensive these days and she decides to use them anyway. Sally found a carton of eggs in her refrigerator with a date that has already passed. Eggs are expensive these days and she decides to use them anyway. What would you do? What would you do? Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

31 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service31 Today you learned: The types of open dating & how to make the most of the information provided The types of open dating & how to make the most of the information provided How to interpret egg carton dates How to interpret egg carton dates What closed dating (coded) can tell you about food products What closed dating (coded) can tell you about food products

32 Questions? 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service32

33 Sources of information Anon. (2007) Food product coding, USDA FSIS at d_product_dating/index.asp Anon. (2007) Food product coding, USDA FSIS at d_product_dating/index.asp d_product_dating/index.asp d_product_dating/index.asp Canned Food Alliance at Canned Food Alliance at Henneman, A. (2005) Decoding food product dates, Univ. of Nebraska Cooperative Extension at m Henneman, A. (2005) Decoding food product dates, Univ. of Nebraska Cooperative Extension at m m m 2009Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service33

34 200934Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service


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