They are not required by regulation but manufacturers print them on most product labels because scanners at supermarkets can "read" them quickly to record the price at checkout. The codes are not meant for the consumer to interpret as a "Best if Used By" date. Cans may also display "open" or calendar dates. Does Federal Law Require Dating? It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below. 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 1. These products will typically maintain product quality for a longer period of time because of how the products are formulated or packaged. For example, sausage formulated with certain ingredients used to preserve the quality of the product or fresh beef packaged in a modified atmosphere packaging system that helps ensure that the product will stay fresh for as long as possible. The quality of perishable products may deteriorate after the date passes, however, such products should still be safe if handled properly. A change in the color of meat or poultry is not an indicator of spoilage The Color of Meat and Poultry. Additional information on safe food handling practices in the home can be found at Check Your Steps: When spoilage bacteria have nutrients food , moisture, time, and favorable temperatures, these conditions will allow the bacteria to grow rapidly and affect the quality of the food. Proper Handling of Food If foods are mishandled, before or after the date on the package, bacteria, including pathogenic bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, can quickly multiply. Make sure to follow the handling and preparation instructions on the label to ensure top quality and safety. Discard cans that are dented, rusted, or swollen.
They are not required by regulation but manufacturers print them on most product labels because scanners at supermarkets can "read" them quickly to record the price at checkout. It is not a safety date. Microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria can multiply and cause food to spoil. Packing codes are a type of closed dating which enable the tracking of product in interstate commerce. Food products are safe to consume past the date on the label, and regardless of the date, consumers should evaluate the quality of the food product prior to its consumption. Food spoilage can occur much faster if it is not stored or handled properly. Does Federal Law Require Dating? Cans must exhibit a code or the date of canning. The quality of perishable products may deteriorate after the date passes but the products should still be wholesome if not exhibiting signs of spoilage. The numbers are not used to identify recalled products. Eastern Time Monday through Friday. This number is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year starting with January 1 as and ending with December 31 as Foods not exhibiting signs of spoilage should be wholesome and may be sold, purchased, donated and consumed beyond the labeled "Best if Used By" date. When a "sell-by" date appears on a carton bearing the USDA grade shield, the code date may not exceed 30 days from the date of pack. The calendar date provides consumers with information on the estimated period of time for which the product will be of best quality and to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale. When read by a computer, a UPC can reveal such specific information as the manufacturer's name, product name, size of product and price. Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "Best if Used By. The codes are not meant for the consumer to interpret as a "Best if Used By" date. Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria. Research shows that this phrase conveys to consumers that the product will be of best quality if used by the calendar date shown. The "Use-By" date is selected by the manufacturer, packer or distributor of the product on the basis of product analysis throughout its shelf life, tests, or other information. Additional information on safe food handling practices in the home can be found at Check Your Steps: Discard cans that are dented, rusted, or swollen. These products will typically maintain product quality for a longer period of time because of how the products are formulated or packaged. Make sure to follow the handling and preparation instructions on the label to ensure top quality and safety. Formula must maintain an acceptable quality to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple.
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