Open dating of foods

However, if a calendar date is used, it must express both the month and the day of the month.The year is only required on shelf stable and frozen products.The date does not correspond to the date by which the product must be consumed to ensure food safety; rather, the date is indicated for product quality.Open dating is typically found on perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

Here is some background information answering these and other questions about product dating. Two types of product dating may be shown on a product label.

It can also help the consumer to know the time limit to purchase or use the product at its best quality. Sell-by date– tells the store how long to display the product for sale. Except for “use-by” dates, product dates don’t always refer to home storage and use after purchasing.

“Use-by” dates usually refer to best quality and are not safety dates.

Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "Best if Used By." [Top of Page] Are Dates for Food Safety or Quality?

Manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of best quality.

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