A best before date (BBD) is only required by law on all food products with a shelf life of less than 90 days. Products with a shelf life of over 90 days will most likely have a production code. A production code would be typically found on shelf stable or frozen products. Production code formats may vary between products, plants and/or manufacturing lines. To locate the production code, look for any series of numbers or letters on the outside package. They can take on many different forms, such as ink jetted, stickered, embossed, etc. Some products may carry both a best before date and a production code.
The following chart outlines how to read different formats of production codes on various products we produce:
How to Read a Production Code
How to Interpret a Julian Code