[Top of Page] Can Food be Donated After the Date Passes? The quality of perishable products may deteriorate after the date passes but the products should still be wholesome if not exhibiting signs of spoilage.Food banks, other charitable organizations, and consumers should evaluate the quality of the product prior to its distribution and consumption to determine whether there are noticeable changes in wholesomeness (Food Donation Safety Tips). Consumption by this date ensures the formula contains not less than the quantity of each nutrient as described on the label."Open Dating" is a calendar date applied to a food product by the manufacturer or retailer.The calendar date provides consumers with information on the estimated period of time for which the product will be of best quality and to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale."Closed or coded dates" are a series of letters and/or numbers and typically appear on shelf-stable products such as cans and boxes of food. There are no uniform or universally accepted descriptions used on food labels for open dating in the United States.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.To reduce consumer confusion and wasted food, FSIS recommends that food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating use a "Best if Used By" date.
If a food has developed such spoilage characteristics, it should not be eaten.[Top of Page] Dating Infant Formula Federal regulations require a "Use-By" date on the product label of infant formula under inspection of the U. Formula must maintain an acceptable quality to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple.The "Use-By" date is selected by the manufacturer, packer or distributor of the product on the basis of product analysis throughout its shelf life, tests, or other information.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. Packing codes are a type of closed dating which enable the tracking of product in interstate commerce.