Open dating product
Except for "use-by" dates, product dates don't always refer to home storage and use after purchase.
But even if the date expires during home storage, a product should be safe, wholesome and of good quality -- if handled properly and kept at 40° F or below.
Shelf life depends on the degradation mechanism of the specific product.
Most can be influenced by several factors: exposure to light, heat, moisture, transmission of gases, mechanical stresses, and contamination by things such as micro-organisms.
The year is only required on shelf stable and frozen products.
If a calendar date is used, a phrase explaining the date (use-by, sell-by, etc.) must be immediately adjacent. Use-by– Is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.
Most expiration dates are used as guidelines based on normal and expected handling and exposure to temperature.
Use prior to the expiration date does not guarantee the safety of a food or drug, and a product is not necessarily dangerous or ineffective after the expiration date. High-acid canned foods (tomatoes, fruits) will keep their best quality for 12 to 18 months; low-acid canned foods (meats, vegetables) for 2 to 5 years. A product that has passed its shelf life might still be safe, but quality is no longer guaranteed.
To comply, a calendar date must express both the month and day of the month.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.