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I have a just opened plastic 4L container of cranberry juice that I bought several months ago. The expiry date on the container is 14 DE 15. I don't know if that should be interpreted as 14 Dec 2015, or 15 Dec 2014.

In general I have this problem with many expiry dates and am curious if there is any kind of standard.

  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice! What country are you in? That's a pretty big clue here as there may be a regulated standard in your country. I'm guessing US as we tend to put days in front of months whereas most of the English speaking world seems to put Month first. Year would almost always be last, regardless. – Preston Feb 14 '15 at 3:22
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    I'm in Canada, where all three formats are common. Be "we" do you mean those in the US? You guys put months first, almost always. See also this wikipedia article. – BeeOnRope Feb 14 '15 at 3:30
  • Ah right. Month first in the US. I wrote it backwards because I personally tend to put the day first, forgetting that was "backwards." In government and military applications we do use day first--it sounds like Greek to most Americans though. – Preston Feb 14 '15 at 3:34
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    Canada gets the worst of all worlds, because our official format is YYMMDD, but it's rarely used, and DDMMYY seems to be the unofficial format maybe from the UK, but we have tons of stuff and influence from the US where MMDDYY is common. So I'm at a loss for how to interpret dates like the one above. – BeeOnRope Feb 14 '15 at 3:41
  • What country was the juice bottled in is the question? ISO standard is yyyy/mm/dd, but usually only used in full year format, and with a variety of separators. Any other format would most likely be in DMY style, unless USA sigh... – TFD Feb 14 '15 at 5:26
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According to this government website from Canada, the date on your product should be read as 15th of December of 2014. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/information-for-consumers/fact-sheets/date-labelling/eng/1332357469487/1332357545633

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Based on the comments below it looks like the first value may actually the year.

It's very unlikely that a can bought in late 2014 would expire in 2014 unless your store is carrying some very old stock. I have seen this type of expiration on other cans and it's been clear that the format is Day Month Year (31 DE 14 or 31 Dec 14). Seems like poor labeling on the part of the manufacturer by not including a 4-digit year.

Other formats I have seen are:

2015 Dec 14

Dec 14 15

Dec 14 2015

12 14 2015

I don't think I have seen a format where a two-digit year is the first value.

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  • I agree with you about poor labeling. I also have to say that many stores do not move some products very well and have become lazy to move off shelves and consumers have also become lazy about checking expiration dates so things sell and when the consumer takes things back, the store will question us about how long we have kept the product. This has happened to me and thank goodness when I went back to find my product, there were many more of the expired products there. Consumers have to beware of dates and clarification of dates. – user33210 Feb 25 '15 at 10:43
  • Just to be clear, this was a bottle, not a can, and it was probably bought in Fall 2014 (so not sure about "late"). FWIW I checked next time I was back at Costco and the two examples I saw for similar juice bottles did have year first, e.g., 15 06 21. – BeeOnRope Feb 25 '15 at 22:13
  • A two-digit year is often the first value in Japanese expiration dates. In that case, they are usually not Gregorian-based (2015) but Imperial-based (平27) – Paul Guyot Mar 4 '15 at 5:43
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I have plum juice from Korea dated 2015.07.26 -- I also have Sour Cherry Juice from Slovenia dated AUG / 2015 -- Another juice from Italy says 25-JUN-2017 -- my Mango and Pineapple Juice were confusing because their dates were 12141214 (really no dates but I needed it and they were small single serving cans and in the end the smoothies I made with pulp and also yogurt tasted more like cans, lesson learned, I won't buy canned juices from abroad) -- Apple Juice from the US is dated 012516 -- and lastly my Concord Grape Juice and White Cherry Juice from the same US company is dated 15DEC16. This is what I have in my pantry now and had before. Good Luck (PS I believe if it is US Welches or Italian Torani it is Dec 14 2015 and my Slovenian juice has the date then the year. A very good way to find out is to go back to the place where you bought it from and ask them or call the company you bought it from or even email them or google.

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