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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.It applies to cosmetics, foods and beverages, medical devices, medicines, explosives, pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals, tires, batteries, and many other perishable items.In some regions, an advisory best before, mandatory use by, or freshness date is required on packaged perishable foods.Egg cartons with a USDA grade shield on them must display the “pack date,” or date that the eggs were washed, graded, and placed in the carton.
Package Food Dates: “Use By” or “Use Before” Some food manufacturers use “open dating,” or calendar dates stamped on a food product’s package, to help retailers determine how long to display a product for sale.
Can Codes: A tool for recalls and inventory control Food cans must display packing codes to enable tracking in the event of a recall.
They also enable manufacturers and retailers to rotate their stock.
For some foods, health issues are important in determining shelf life.
Bacterial contaminants are ubiquitous, and foods left unused too long will often be contaminated by substantial amounts of bacterial colonies and become dangerous to eat, leading to food poisoning.In contrast, if milk already has harmful bacteria, the use-by dates become irrelevant.