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“Closed Dating” is a code that consists of a series of letters and/or numbers applied by manufacturers to identify the date and time of production. Except for infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations.For meat, poultry, and egg products under the jurisdiction of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), dates may be voluntarily applied provided they are labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and in compliance with FSIS regulations.Factors including the length of time and the temperature at which a food is held during distribution and offered for sale, the characteristics of the food, and the type of packaging will affect how long a product will be of optimum quality.Manufacturers and retailers will consider these factors when determining the date for which the product will be of best quality.These codes also enable manufacturers to rotate their stock and locate their products in the event of a recall. tomatoes and fruits) will keep their best quality for 12 to 18 months. meats and vegetables) will keep for two to five years.Codes appear as a series of letters and/or numbers and refer to the date the product was canned. Usually these are "Best if Used By" dates for peak quality. Additional information on food canning and the handling of canned foods may be found at Shelf-Stable Food Safety.
Research shows that this phrase conveys to consumers that the product will be of best quality if used by the calendar date shown.
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.
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.