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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.“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.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.To comply, a calendar date must express both the month and day of the month.
Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria.
Manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of best quality.