Manufacturing expiration dating policy

Microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria can multiply and cause food to spoil.

Viruses are not capable of growing in food and do not cause spoilage.

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.

[Top of Page] Safety After Date Passes With an exception of infant formula (described below), if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident (Chill Refrigerate Promptly).

“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.

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[Top of Page] How do Manufacturers Determine Quality Dates?To comply, a calendar date must express both the month and day of the month.In the case of shelf-stable and frozen products, the year must also be displayed."Best if Used By" is a type of date you might find on a meat, poultry, or egg product label. Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date?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.