Published Document This document has been published in the Federal Register. Additional information on food canning and the handling of canned foods may be found at Shelf-Stable Food Safety. If a food has developed such spoilage characteristics, it should not be eaten. Allowing manufacturers to independently determine this language contributes to the dizzying variety of date label phrases on food products, furthering consumer confusion on the meaning of date labels. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Usually these are "Best if Used By" dates for peak quality.
For Food Manufacturers, 'Sell By' Labels May Have Reached Their Expiration Date
E-mail questions to MPHotline usda.
A Lesson in Food Product Dating
One consumer was confused by the statement that except for infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations. Two major food industry associations want to change that and are proposing reforms. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.