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Microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria can multiply and cause food to spoil.Viruses are not capable of growing in food and do not cause spoilage.Consumers must evaluate the quality of the product prior to its consumption to determine if the product shows signs of spoilage. Open dating is found on most foods including meat, poultry, egg and dairy products."Closed or coded dates" are a series of letters and/or numbers and typically appear on shelf-stable products such as cans and boxes of food. There are no uniform or universally accepted descriptions used on food labels for open dating in the United States.Until the ACFR grants it official status, the XML rendition of the daily Federal Register on Federal does not provide legal notice to the public or judicial notice to the courts.
Except for infant formula, dates are not an indicator of the product’s safety and are not required by Federal law.In the case of shelf-stable and frozen products, the year must also be displayed.Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "Best if Used By." [Top of Page] Are Dates for Food Safety or Food Quality?[Top of Page] Are Foods Safe to Eat After the Date Passes?With an exception of infant formula (described below), if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident (Chill Refrigerate Promptly).