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I was cleaning out and found some snack chips with date codes that are not in an obvious Day/Month/Year format. For example:

  • 028 B2 A1 (Bloom's Potato Chips)
  • 021 T B4A1 (Lieber's Tortilla Chips).

Further complicating, neither says if it's a Best Used By date or a Date Manufactured (see pic).Blooms chips Liebers chips date codes

How to decode these?

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Manufacturers usually will decode the date if you call them, which I did. I am sharing the codes I have gathered for easier reference. Other users may wish to click Edit and add other manufacturers' codes.

BRAND / CODE / TYPE(BEST-OR-MFG) / DECODE / NOTES

  • Lieber's: 021 T B4A1: BEST: The 021 is 21st day of the year i.e. Jan-21. "T" (20th letter) is for 2019, as "A" is Year 2000.
  • Blooms: 028 B2 A1: MFG: The 028 is 28th day of the year i.e. Jan-28. The year is not in the code.

Here is a list of some more common codes, from Bush Brothers to Stagg Chili:
http://www.foodreference.com/html/tcannedfoodshelflife.html#datecodes
Accessed July 2019

Here is another, very long list from 3 Springs Water through Zatarains:
http://www.eby-brown.com/sites/default/files/u3/EbyCodeDateCatalog_0.pdf
Accessed July 2019

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    This type of BBD date coding format is known throughout the industry by a misnomer of "Julian date code". In actuality, the proper name is "ordinal date coding", but if you say that most QC/QA staff wouldn't recognize it. I've made a calculator for this type of date coding, for your future reference: Ordinal Date Calculator. – Arctiic Jul 11 at 7:20
  • Nissim, great find! I used that source (or one very similar) 25 years ago and had been searching for it! But it still amazes me how complex some companies make it. A good example is McCormick, found on page 433. – Cindy Jul 11 at 17:44
  • Exactly. Each company has their own coding pattern so it is better to call them and ask. FDA requires all of them to be able to run full traceability on the production records (up to a certain period after the production date, usually 0.5 to 2 years after expiration date then they're allowed to dispose of the records) so they should be able to at least tell you when that lot was made if nothing more. – Juliana Karasawa Souza Jul 15 at 7:55

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