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Purpose dating

[Top of Page] Can Food be Donated After the Date Passes? The quality of perishable products may deteriorate after the date passes but the products should still be wholesome if not exhibiting signs of spoilage.

Viruses are not capable of growing in food and do not cause spoilage.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?It is also based on the conditions of handling, storage, preparation, and use printed on the label.Do not buy or use baby formula after its "Use- By" date. Packing codes are a type of closed dating which enable the tracking of product in interstate commerce."Open Dating" is a calendar date applied to a food product by the manufacturer or retailer.

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.

Factors including the length of time and the temperature at which a food is held during distribution and offered for sale, the characteristics of the food, and the type of packaging will affect how long a product will be of optimum quality.

Manufacturers and retailers will consider these factors when determining the date for which the product will be of best quality.

[Top of Page] Dating Infant Formula 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.

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.