“Closed Dating” is a code that consists of a series of letters and/or numbers applied by manufacturers to identify the date and time of production. 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.
"Best if Used By" is a type of date you might find on a meat, poultry, or egg product label. Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date?
For example, sausage formulated with certain ingredients used to preserve the quality of the product or fresh beef packaged in a modified atmosphere packaging system that helps ensure that the product will stay fresh for as long as possible.
These products will typically maintain product quality for a longer period of time because of how the products are formulated or packaged.
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.
[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.