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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.To reduce consumer confusion and wasted food, FSIS recommends that food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating use a “Best if Used By” date.Research shows that this phrase conveys to consumers that the product will be of best quality if used by the calendar date shown.Foods not exhibiting signs of spoilage should be wholesome and may be sold, purchased, donated and consumed beyond the labeled "Best if Used By" date.[Top of Page] Are Foods Safe to Eat After the Date Passes?A change in the color of meat or poultry is not an indicator of spoilage (The Color of Meat and Poultry).[Top of Page] What are the Requirements for Dating Infant Formula? Consumption by this date ensures the formula contains not less than the quantity of each nutrient as described on the label.
Here is some background information answering these and other questions about product dating. Two types of product dating may be shown on a product label.If a food has developed such spoilage characteristics, it should not be eaten.Microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria can multiply and cause food to spoil.Federal regulations require a "Use-By" date on the product label of infant formula under inspection of the U. Formula must maintain an acceptable quality to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple.The "Use-By" date is selected by the manufacturer, packer or distributor of the product on the basis of product analysis throughout its shelf life, tests, or other information.
It is also based on the conditions of handling, storage, preparation, and use printed on the label.