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Except for infant formula, dates are not an indicator of the product’s safety and are not required by Federal law.

[Top of Page] How do Manufacturers Determine Quality Dates?

“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.

[Top of Page] Does Federal Law Require Food Product Dating?

"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?

Research shows that this phrase conveys to consumers that the product will be of best quality if used by the calendar date shown.

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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.

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