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Viruses are not capable of growing in food and do not cause spoilage.There are two types of bacteria that can be found on food: pathogenic bacteria, which cause foodborne illness, and spoilage bacteria, which do not cause illness but do cause foods to deteriorate and develop unpleasant characteristics such as an undesirable taste or odor making the food not wholesome.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).Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria.
As a result, there are a wide variety of phrases used on labels to describe quality dates. One source of food waste arises from consumers or retailers throwing away wholesome food because of confusion about the meaning of dates displayed on the label.
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. Can codes are a type of closed dating which enable the tracking of product in interstate commerce.
“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.
[Top of Page] Does Federal Law Require Food Product Dating?