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A guide to buying food and how long you can expect it to store..

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  • Food Shelf Life Recommendations

    Version 2.0

    1/14/1999

    Grocery product shelf life is based upon the Manufacturers Date Packaged (DP) code. Manufacturersencode the Date Packaged somewhere on the product in a form unique to their internal procedures. Myobjective is to provide Date Packaged (DP) code keys for well-known products to assist your foodpurchasing and rotation efforts. Remember that these timeframes are the manufacturers recommendationsfor MAXIMUM freshness and nutrient value. Several vendors indicated their products are edible longbeyond the published recommendation dates.

    In order to maintain freshness within the suggested expiration dates, food should be stored in a dry, coollocation. Discard any food product exhibiting changed color, odor, or taste. Storage temperature has a greatinfluence on shelf life. Per Del Monte a 15-degree change reduces expected shelf life by 50% (ideal tempis 65; if stored at 80, then shelf life is reduced by 50%). Do not freeze canned goods; the added moisturemay cause the seams to swell and burst during thawing.

    Recommended product Shelf life is defined as MOS (months) Unopened and Opened. Both of thesetimeframes are calculated using the Date Packaged (DP) as the base. Unopened refers to total months theproduct can be stored at home. Opened refers to the total months (or days or weeks) the product can bestored once it has been opened. If the chart has a time recommendation for Opened, consider it as aSUBSET of the Unopened timeframe. For example, if a product has an Unopened shelf life of 12 monthsand an Opened recommendation of 3 months, the following statements are true:

    For maximum freshness, the product should remain on your shelf for a maximum of date packaged +12 months

    l

    Once the product is opened, it should remain on your shelf for a maximum of 3 months OR less. Thecombined unopen and open timeframes should not exceed date packaged + 12 months.

    l

    This chart is a work in progress. Feedback for additions, corrections or improvements should be forwardedto czimmer@gilanet.com for inclusion in a subsequent update. The chart is organized closely to thesequence of the generic Cupboard Storage Chart at County Extension sites (e.g.http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_fnut/HRAP/STORAGE/cupstor.htm ). Ive included the Extension productrecommendations in the table. They are listed without a specific manufacturer entry and with "generic" inthe comment column.

    Food categories include:Staplesl Mixes and Packaged Foodsl Canned and Dried Foodsl Spices, Herbs, Condiments, and Extractsl Other Food Itemsl Non-Food Itemsl

    CHART COLUMN DEFINITIONS:

    DP= Date Packaged codes include the following codes in various combinations.

    Food Expiration Date

    http://www.a1usa.net/gary/expire.html (1 of 20) [5/2/2002 5:17:28 PM]

  • Y=Year Packaged

    MM or M= Month Packaged

    (if only one M then 1-9 = Jan-Sep, A = Oct, B = Nov, C = Dec unless otherwise noted)DD=Day Packaged

    JJJ=Julian Day Packaged (Jan 1 = 001, Dec 31 = 365 or 366)X= letter or number not significant to product shelf life

    DP LOC= Location of Date Packaged

    UNOPEN= Number of months shelf life unopened from Date Packaged

    OPEN= Number of months shelf life once opened.

    FOOD PRODUCT RECOMMENDED SHELF LIFE

    PRODUCT MFG Date Pkg. DP LOC RecommendedShelf life (Mos)

    COMMENTS

    Unopen Open

    STAPLES

    Baking Powder

    18 or exp.date

    Generic: Keep dry andcovered. Testeffectiveness w/ 1 tsp.BP and cup tap warmtap water. If bubbles,then still active

    Calumet

    Baking Powder

    Exp. Date

    Exp. date same 1-800-431-1001

    Baking Soda

    24

    Generic: Keep dry andcovered

    Bisquick

    Exp. Date

    Exp. date Same

    Bouillon

    24

    Generic: Keep dry andcovered

    Bouillon

    Herb Ox

    Hormel XMMDDY Bottom 24 same 1-800-523-4635

    www.hormel.com;

    Bouillon

    Tone

    Tone YMDDx

    M = A-M forJan > Dec

    (I is skipped!)

    24 same 1-800-247-5251

    Food Expiration Date

    http://www.a1usa.net/gary/expire.html (2 of 20) [5/2/2002 5:17:28 PM]

  • Cereals

    Ready to Eat

    To Be Cooked

    6-12

    6

    2-3 Generic: Refold linertightly after opening

    Chocolate

    Pre-melted

    Semi Sweet

    -- Unsweetened

    12

    18

    18

    Generic: Keep cool

    Chocolate

    Milk Choc Bits

    ButterscotchBits

    Semi Sweet

    Unsweetend

    Choco Bake

    Baking Cocoa

    Nestles YJJJx..

    16

    18

    24

    24

    24

    24

    same 1-800-258-6728

    keep cool and tightlycovered once opened

    Chocolate Syrup

    24 6 Generic: Refrig. Afteropening

    Cocoa Mixes

    8

    Generic: Cover Tightly

    Cocoa Mix

    Nestles QuickNestles YJJJ Embossed

    top row ofcodes onbottom

    24 3-6 1-800-637-8536

    Coffee

    Cans

    Instant

    24

    12-24

    2 wks

    2

    Generic: Refrigerateafter opening. Keeptightly closed, use drymeasuring spoon.

    Coffee

    Yuban (can)

    YJJJ Bottom ofcan; toprow

    12 1 May refrig. afteropened.

    1-800-982-2649

    Coffee

    Maxwell House

    XYJJJx

    24

    CoffeeLighteners (dry)

    9 6 Generic: Keep lidtightly closed

    Food Expiration Date

    http://www.a1usa.net/gary/expire.html (3 of 20) [5/2/2002 5:17:28 PM]

  • Cornmeal

    12

    Generic: Keep tightlyclosed

    Cornstarch

    18

    Generic: Keep tightlyclosed

    Cornstarch

    Argo

    Best Foods MDDxY Top of pkg Indefinite Same Lasts indefinitely.Discard if lumps, bugs,or moisture.1-800-338-8831

    Drink Mix

    Country Time

    Lemonade

    YJJJxx Bottom 24 Same 1-800-432-1002

    Drink Mix

    Crystal Light

    YJJJxx BlueBand,whiteprinting

    24 Same 1-800-432-1002

    Drink Mix

    Tang

    YJJJx Bottom ofproduct,2nd line

    24 Same 1-800-432-1002

    Drink Mix

    Kool Aid

    Kraft YJJJx

    18-24 2 Refrigerate up to 4 daysafter prepared

    1-800-543-5335

    www.kraftfoods.com

    Flour

    White

    Whole wheat

    6-8

    6-8

    Generic:

    Keep in airtightcontainer.

    Refrigerate in airtightcontainer

    Flour

    Betty Crocker

    General Mills MYDDxx

    Month code isA-M (skip I).A=June, B =Jul

    18 Same 1-800-328-6787

    Gelatin, all types

    18

    Generic: Keep inoriginal container

    Jello Kraft YJJJx..

    24 N/A 1-800-543-5335

    www.kraftfoods.com

    Food Expiration Date

    http://www.a1usa.net/gary/expire.html (4 of 20) [5/2/2002 5:17:28 PM]

  • Grits

    12

    Generic: Store inairtight container

    Honey

    12

    Generic: Cover tightly;if crystallizes, warm jarin pan of hot water

    Honey

    Crockett Stewart

    Crockett MMDDYY orYYMMDD

    Cap 12-24-

    (indef)Same Best taste if used in 2

    yrs. Lasts indefinitelyso use for baking after 2yrs. If in can, may turndark. 602-731-3936.

    Jellies, Jams

    12

    Generic: Cover tightly.Storage life extended ifrefrigerated afteropening

    Jellies,

    Safeway

    Safeway Purch by date Cap Purch by+ 1 mo

    Same Can store for 24 mos.On shelf. Best taste ifused by purch. By date.

    602-894-4100

    Molasses

    12+ 6 Generic

    MarshmallowCream

    3-4

    Generic: Cover tightly.Refrigerate after opento extend storage life.

    Mayonnaise 2-3

    Generic: Refrigerateafter opening

    Mayonnaise

    Kraft Mayo and

    Miracle Whip

    Salad Dressing

    Kraft Purch by date On label Purch by+ 1 mo

    3-4 Refrigerate afteropening. Use by purchby date

    Milk

    Condensed

    Evaporated

    Non-Fat dry

    12

    12

    6

    -

    -

    3

    Generic:

    Invert cans each 2 mos.

    Invert cans each 2 mos.

    Store in airtightcontainer

    Food Expiration Date

    http://www.a1usa.net/gary/expire.html (5 of 20) [5/2/2002 5:17:29 PM]

  • Milk

    Carnation

    Skim Evap

    Lowfat Evap

    Sweet Condense

    Nonfat Dry

    Evap

    Nestles YJJJxx

    9

    12

    12

    12

    15

    *

    *

    *

    Same

    *

    1-800-854-8935

    *Once ready to useproduct open,refrigerate for up to 3days.

    Pasta

    24

    Generic: Store inairtight container whenopened

    Pasta

    AmericanBeauty

    Hershey YMMDDxxx On endflap of boxor stampedoncellophane

    12-36 Same 12 oven ready

    24 egg noodle

    36 regular

    1-800-468-1714

    Pectin

    Liquid

    Dry

    1

    12

    1 Generic: May have exp.Date. Recap andrefrigerate after opened.

    Rice

    White

    Flavored or herb

    24+

    6

    Generic: keep tightlyclosed

    Rice

    Minute Rice

    Kraft Best used bydate

    Box top 18 Same Best used by date = 18mos from pkg. date

    Salad Dressings

    Bottled

    From Mix

    10-12

    3

    2 wks

    Generic: Refrigerateafter opening ormixing.

    Salad Dressing

    Good Seasons

    Mix

    General Foods YJJJx

    24 -

    Food Expiration Date

    http://www.a1usa.net/gary/expire.html (6 of 20) [5/2/2002 5:17:29 PM]

  • Salad Dressing

    Hidden Valley

    Mix

    Hidden Valley XxYJJJ

    12 -

    Salad Oils

    6 1-3 Generic: Refrigerateafter opening

    Oil Crisco orPuritan

    Proctor &Gamble

    YJJJxxx

    24 12 No need to refrigerateunless re-using afterfrying

    Oil - Mazola

    Corn Oil,

    Canola Oil

    Best Foods Purch. by date Printed onbottle

    18 Same Purch by date = 18mos. From pkg. Date

    1-800-338-8831

    Oil - Olive Oil Pompeian YMMDDx On bottlei