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Thread: Deciphering Expiration Dates on Cans

  1. #1
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    Default Deciphering Expiration Dates on Cans

    I don't know if this has been posted before but I found it useful. It's how to decipher the expiration dates on canned goods by company.

    http://www.mealtime.org/content.aspx?id=160

    Reading Can Codes
    Each canned food manufacturer has a unique coding system. Some manufacturers list day, month and year of production, while other companies reference only the year. These codes are usually imprinted on the top or bottom of the can. Other numbers may appear and reference the specific plant manufacturing or product information and are not useful to consumers. Below is a sampling of how some manufacturers code their products so consumers know when the product was packaged. If you have specific questions about a company's product, contact a customer service representative at the phone number listed.
    Note: For month coding, if a number is used, numbers 1 through 9 represent January through September, and letters O for October, N for November and D for December. If letters are used, A=Jan. and L=Dec., unless otherwise noted.
    Note: For year coding, 8=1998; 9=1999; 0=2000; 1=2001; 2=2002, etc.
    Bush Brothers & Company (voice) 865-509-2361
    Four digits
    Position 1: Month
    Position 2 and 3: Day
    Position 4: Year
    Example: 2061 (February 6, 2001)

    Chiquita Processed Foods (voice) 800-872-1110
    Ten digits (only 6-8 are pertinent to consumers)
    Position 6: Year (A=1999, B=2000, C=2001, etc.)
    Position 7 and 8: Julian Date
    Example: A195 (July 14, 1999 - July 14 is the 195th day of the year)

    Del Monte Foods (voice) 800-543-3090
    First line, four digits
    Position 1: Year
    Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date
    Example: 9045 (February 14, 1999)

    Faribault Foods
    Consumers can send inquiries and product coding numbers via an online contact form at the
    Faribault Foods Web Site, and a company representative will help them understand the coding.
    Furman Foods (voice) 877-877-6032
    Second line, first four digits
    Position 1: Year
    Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date
    Example: 9045 (February 14, 1999)

    Hirzel Canning (voice) 800-837-1631
    First line, four digits
    Position 1: Year
    Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date
    Example: 0195 (July 14, 2000- July 14th is the 195th day of the year)

    Hormel Foods Corporation (voice) 800-523-4635
    Five digits on the top line
    Position 1-4: Information about plant and manufacturing
    Position 5: Year
    Example: XXXX0 (2000)

    Lakeside Foods (voice) 920-684-3356
    Second line, second through fifth digits
    Position 2: Month (January=1, September=9, October=A, November=B, December=C)
    Position 3 and 4: Date
    Position 5: Year
    Example: 4A198 (October 19, 1998)

    Maple Leaf Consumer Foods (voice) 800-268-3708
    Top of can, grouping of last four digits
    Position 1: Year
    Position 2,3, and 4: Julian Date
    Example: 9130 (May 9, 1999)

    Mid-Atlantic Foods (voice) 410-957-4100
    Second through fourth digits
    Position 2: Month (letter)
    Position 3: Date (A=1, Z=26)
    Position 4: Year
    Example: MDE0 (April 5, 2000)

    Pillsbury/Green Giant and Progresso
    (voice) 800-998-9996

    Five digits
    Position 1: Month (letter)
    Position 2: Year
    Position 3: Plant information
    Position 4 and 5: Date
    Example: G8A08 (July 8, 1998)

    Seneca Foods (voice) 315-926-6710
    Two digits on the first line
    Position 1: Month (letter)
    Position 2: Year
    Example: L1 (December 2001)

    Stagg Chili (voice) 800-611-9778
    Second through sixth digits
    Position 2 and 3: Month
    Position 4 and 5: Day
    Position 6: Year
    Example: S02050 (February 5, 2000)

    Vietti Foods
    First line, five digits
    Position 1: Month (letter)
    Position 2 and 3: Date
    Position 4: Code for product type
    Position 5: Year
    Example: E02D2 (May 2, 2002)



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Default

    Thanks! Great post.

    I've never figured out why some companies don't just put the expiration date in a regular, easy-to-read format, instead of making us have to decipher it.

    While I'm at it , those "Best By" dates kind of annoy me, too. If I eat it a month later, will it still taste okay? And at exactly what point does the food actually go bad?

    I actually put big labels on my food so I'll be sure to use it by the expiration date or "Best By" date.

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