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Expiration Dates on Food Packaging

Expiration Dates on Food Packaging

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Expiration Dates on Food Packaging

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  1. Expiration Dates onFood 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 interpret the date on egg cartons • What you can learn from closed dating (coded) Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  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. • What would you do? Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  4. Is dating required by federal law? • In general, no • Required for infant formula & some baby food • If use calendar date: • 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”) Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

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

  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 • Formula must be able to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  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 Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  8. Who does requirefood product dating? • U.S. has is no uniform system • 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 Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  9. 2 types of dates • "Open Dating“: uses a calendar date • 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 • Is not a safety date • “Closed Dating”: uses a code on food product Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  10. What Types of Food Are Dated? • 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 • Cans & boxes Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

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

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

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

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

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

  16. Example • Carton stamped “P 1692 070 SELL BY Apr 8” • Sometimes stamp reads “P1692 070 EXP Apr 8” • 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 • Jan 1 = 001, Dec 31 = 365 (or 366 in a leap year) • This carton packed on day 070 (Mar 11) Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  17. “P 1692 070 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 • Eggs would be good until April 8th or 15th Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  18. Recommendations for eggs • 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 • 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 Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

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

  20. 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 Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  21. Coded or closed dating • Used for canned/packaged foods with long shelf life Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

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

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

  24. Reading can codes • Each canned food manufacturer has unique coding system Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  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 • If letters are used, A=Jan & L=Dec., unless otherwise noted • For year coding, 0=2000; 1=2001; 2=2002, 3=2003, etc Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

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

  27. General can storage times • If cans remain in good condition & have been stored in cool, clean, dry place • High-acid foods can be stored on shelf 12-18 mo. • Low-acid foods keep 2-5 years Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  28. Once the package/can is open • Any date is no longer meaningful • Store correctly to extend shelf-life—see charts in handout Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  29. Tips to determining storage time for top quality • Buy the food before date expires • Take perishable food home immediately after purchase, refrigerate promptly • Freeze food if won’t be used it within times recommended on chart in handout • Follow handling recommendations on product • Consult storage chart in handout Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  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. • What would you do? Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

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

  32. Questions? Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  33. Sources of information • Anon. (2007) Food product coding, USDA FSIS at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/food_product_dating/index.asp • Canned Food Alliance at www.mealtime.org • Henneman, A. (2005) Decoding food product dates, Univ. of Nebraska Cooperative Extension at http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ftjan05.htm Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

  34. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service