Expiry Dates for Canned Food

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Sorry, Sorry, Sorry. I know this has been posted before but we can't seem to locate. Please help. We were at Costco last night to pick up some cases of canned goods and some of the expiry dates are written in Greek.

Many Thanks to all here.

Bunny & Princess

-- Bunny & Princess (neilw@infoserve.net), June 18, 1999


Date codes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Best bet is to call them. Most are very helpful. I have seen a posting somewhere that has a list of general codes but it's safest to go to the source

-- (rcarver@inacom.com), June 18, 1999.

Bunny & Princess....

Most canneries use a 'code line' that is inkjeted on the top of the can. This may include information on sequential batching, product typing, and Julian (SP?) date. Example: June 17, 1999 could be shown as 16899 (168th day of 1999). This could be the date the product was actually canned or the expiration date for consuption. Hope that helps.

-- Iben (lurking@work.sum), June 18, 1999.

Canned food is generally edible if there are no dents in the seams and there is no rust on the inside of the can when you open it. "Smell it" the rest is just lawyer talk...

-- BiGG (supersite@acronet.net), June 18, 1999.

If you go to www.prepare4y2k.com, there is a link to a very nicely done list of how to interpret packing codes for various manufacturers (e.g., Bush's Baked Beans uses MDDYP where M=month, DD=day, Y=year [last digit; e.g., "9" is 1999]; Delmonte uses YDDDPPPPP, where Y=year, DDD is the julian day of the year [# of day into the year; e.g., 001 is Jan 1, 032 is Feb 1]).

Bunny & Princess, do you girls ever like to mudwrestle?

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), June 18, 1999.

King of Spain

Why would you assume we're girls? LOL.

Bunny & Princess

-- Bunny & Princess (neilw@infoserve.net), June 18, 1999.

It's my understanding that most canned goods last practically forever as long as the can itself isn't damaged.

Exceptions may include tomato-based products, like spaghetti sauces, & some fruits.

Also, if the can is bulging, be sure to feed the contents to someone you really dislike & wish to see dead very soon.

-- here (little@noisy.dog), June 18, 1999.

Don't bother thinking about expirations. Nothing canned on the shelf today is going to expire before end of 2000 at the soonest.

Just go buy all you can afford (up to your needs), load the pantry, and get a little extra to help others if that's how you lean. Do it fast, so the grocer has plenty of time to re-order. GI's need to finish their preps ASAP, so the DGI's can have the run of the stores when they finally panic. That's how you pump the maximum amount through the pipeline, and that's what Y2k is about.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), June 18, 1999.

You can get a can code decoder from either http://www.y2kkitchen.com/html/can_code_decoder.html

or from www.novay2k.org

-- Sally Strackbein (sally@y2kkitchen.com), June 18, 1999.

If any of you are stocking Kroger brand canned goods, this is what their code means. There are two lines stamped on the can. Ignore the second line. The first line will have something like 7H826 (canned 8/26/97) 7 Year canned H Manufacturing plant 8 Month canned 26 Day of month canned Also, Kroger is recommending the following as maximum shelf life: Soup 3 years Fruit 2 years Tomato products 18 months Vegetable 2 years Tuna 5 years Canned Meat 3 years ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------

Home Depot sells a small 8 oz. bottle of "kero-Klean" kerosene fuel treatment that "reduces odor, cleans wicks, reduces condensation, extends wick life, and increases efficiency of kerosene." The stuff is cheap and does seem to help. It is sold for kerosene heaters but works well in lamp oil or kerosene. Treated Kerosene and lamp oils do seem to burn cleaner in any lamp we have tried with this product. Kero-Klean comes in several scents. Our favorite is Pine. (We usually buy unscented anything if available!)

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Before I list specific manufacturers there is one fairly widely used code key that may be useful. Some processors use a system where all the days of the year are listed 1-365 (366 for leap year) as the first three digits in the code. This number is then followed by a single letter such as "B" and then by a single digit that represents the year. Some examples of this might be: Packing code Date packed

045B97 February 14, 1997 101H98 May 1, 1998 134K96 July 4, 1996 252U98 October 31, 1998 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------

ARMOUR STAR CANNED MEAT PRODUCTS Vienna Sausage, Stew, Chili, Deviled Ham, Potted Meat, Slice Dried Beef, Soups, etc. but does NOT include Armour Star Roast Beef or Corned Beef. The code is on the bottom of the container. The first letter is the month of production; A=January, B=February, C=March and so on. The following two numbers represent the day of the month it was processed and the third number indicates the year. Example: A code of B148C23 would be B=Feb, 14 = the fourteenth day, 8=1998. B148C23=February 14, 1998 and the last three characters would be plant or processing line locations. Armour Star Microwaveable Meals have a two line production code on the container lid. The second line is the is date and uses the same code as above.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------ BUSH BROTHERS & CO. Baked beans, chili, etc. A five digit code on the bottom of the can. The first digit is the month, the next two digits is the day of the month, the next number is the year and the last digit is ignored. Example: A code of 50173 deciphers to be: 5 = the fifth month or May 01 = the first day of May 7 = 1997 3 = last number is discarded. Thus 50173 is May 1st, 1997. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------- DEL MONTE Canned fruits, vegetables, etc. I'm not sure if it applies to *all* product lines. A five character packing code, usually on the bottom. The first character is a digit representing the year. The next three characters are digits representing the day of the year the product was packed. The last character is a letter and may be ignored. Example: A packing code of 8045B deciphers to be: 8 = 1998 045 = The 45th day of the year or February 14th. B = A plant code. Thus 8045B is February 14th, 1998. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------- GENERAL MILLS: The manufacturing date is coded to their fiscal year that begins on June 1st and ends on May 31st. Interpret the code as follows: The first character of the code is a letter and represents the month the product was made. The second character in the code is a number which represents the year the product was made. The following two characters are numbers that represent the day of the month the product was made. The remaining characters following identify plant location and shift information. Example: A packing code of E731B would translate as follows: E = October 7 = 1997 31 = 31st day of the month B = A plant location The following is their 12 month cycle. The letter "I" is not used because it can be confused with the number "1". A = June E = October J = February B = July F = November K = March C = August G = December L = April D = September H = January M = May ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------- HANOVER FOODS CORP. Small whole potatoes, green beans, corn, etc. A five digit code on the bottom of the can. Omit the first digit. The next digit is the year. The remaining three digits are the day of the year the product was packed. Example: A code of 28304 deciphers to be: 2 - discard this number 304 = the 304th day of the year or October 31st Thus 28304 is October 31st, 1998 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------- HEALTHY CHOICE: First character is a number, second is a letter with the remaining characters being a lot ID. The number is the year it was packed with the letter being the month, October = A, November = B, December = C, January = D, and so on through the year. The recommended shelf life is 2 years.

HORMEL PRODUCTS Their packing code is a letter followed by five numbers. The letter is their plant location and the numbers are the dating code in a MM- DD-Y format. Example: A code of G07048 decodes to mean: G = plant location 07 = July 04 = The fourth day of the month 8 = 1998 The can was packed July 4, 1998 at plant location G. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------ McCORMICK HERBS & SPICES: (See also http://www.mccormick.com/info/oftenasked.html ) There should be a four digit number of the bottom of the spice package or extract bottle. On foil packages, it will be around the outside edge. This code is more complicated than other manufacturers so read closely. Example: Using a number 3604 as the packing code: To derive the year, take the first number and add 5 (3 + 5 = 8) so 1998 is the year of manufacture. To derive the month and day, divide the last three digits by 50 (604 w 50 = 6 with 4 remaining). The six indicates the last whole or complete month before the month of production, January, February, March, April, May, and then June. The next month, July, is the production month. The 4 remaining is the day it was produced. Therefore a packing code of 3604 means that product was packed July 4, 1998. While not as precise, you can save considerable time by just finding the year. The last three digits representing the day and month will increase as the year grows.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------- PROGRESSO FOODS Canned soups, beans, etc. Two lines of code on top of the can. The top line, the first two characters are the date portion. The first character is a letter indicating the month and the second character is a digit indicating the year. Example: A packing code of L7N18 1211 (this is the first line) would be: L = 12th month or December 7 = 1997 N18 = ignored 1211= ignored. Thus a packing code of L7N18 1211 indicates the can was packed in December of 1997. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------

-- Anita (spoonera@msn.com), June 18, 1999.

Gawd, what the hell else would be named Bunny and Princess?????

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), June 18, 1999.

Hi Sally,

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your list at y2k kitchen. I have laminated a double-sided copy of it so that I can take it to the store with me. Thanks so much.

-- nothere nothere (notherethere@hotmail.com), June 18, 1999.

Good sources of information concerning the expiration dates of canned foods.




-- sweetolebob (buffgun@hotmail.com), June 18, 1999.

Use a sharpie and write the date (month & year) you purchased it so you can rotate your stock. This is easier than having to decipher the codes every time you pick up a can!

mb in NC

-- mb (mdbutler@coastalnet.com), June 18, 1999.

Thanks, Will copy and use. FYI, I found a can of jellied cranberries I had forgotten about dated 1997. Decided to open and see what it looked like and taste. We ate for dinner. Was good,no one got sick....hmmmmm. Sounds like good news to me.

-- Moore Dinty moore (not@thistime.com), June 19, 1999.

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