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How do you decipher code numbers on food packages?
By Cheryl Knight from Savannah, GA
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My cocoa says, 97K31. OJ. What do those numbers and letters mean?
By Katie hoth from Winston-Salem, NC
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
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
Have you ever noticed there are numbers listed when there are recalls? The codes are used by manufacturers for tracking 'batches.' (02/23/2009)
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)
I went online to use those "string of codes numbers." It's a good idea to do that. (02/23/2009)
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)
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: stilltasty.com. 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)
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)