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Codes on Food Packaging

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Understanding how to read label codes can help you purchase the freshest products. This is a page about codes on food packaging.


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By 0 found this helpful
February 11, 2010

How do you decipher code numbers on food packages?

By Cheryl Knight from Savannah, GA

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 3, 20140 found this helpful

My cocoa says, 97K31. OJ. What do those numbers and letters mean?

By Katie hoth from Winston-Salem, NC


December 17, 20180 found this helpful

UTZ Certified is a program and a label for sustainable farming. The UTZ Certified label is featured on more than 10,000 different product packages in over 116 countries. As of 2014, UTZ Certified is the largest program for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 11, 20100 found this helpful

How do I make sense of the codes on cans and food products? I'm fine if the product says "Use by..." or "Sell by..." but some of these products just have a string of numbers and letters on them. Please help.


Sandra from PA


Codes on Food Packaging

Have you ever noticed there are numbers listed when there are recalls? The codes are used by manufacturers for tracking 'batches.' (02/23/2009)

By Deeli

Codes on Food Packaging

I always use my cell phone when shopping and call the supplier of the product I'm trying to figure the dates on. I also tell them it would be so nice if they put a date on that I could decipher. I always check dates on most every product I buy. I have found many to be out of code. Several vendors say they are in the process of changing their date coding. (02/23/2009)

By Linda

Codes on Food Packaging

I went online to use those "string of codes numbers." It's a good idea to do that. (02/23/2009)

By Carol Rodriguez

Codes on Food Packaging

Each company uses different codes. Some may be just the day of product being packaged, some may include the plant that product was produced. Others may include the time of day and other various items the producer needs to know. Maybe you can find a web page on the internet explaining some of these codes but there is no standard all producers use. (02/24/2009)


By Harry

Codes on Food Packaging

I agree, the codes usually don't have anything to do with product safety. Your best bet for determining shelf life is to go to a good reference site.

I like: You just type a food name into the search box and it'll tell you how long it will stay good and how you should store it. (02/24/2009)

By Anna

Codes on Food Packaging

Carol L, could you explain exactly how you personally investigate the 'string of code numbers' online? Even on the company websites there is no way to find the meaning of their particular code short of sending them a lengthy email request. Thanks a bunch. :-) (02/24/2009)

By Deeli

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