Why Is Date Coding Required?

Posted by Cecilia Barcenas on Sep 1, 2021 9:15:00 AM
Cecilia Barcenas
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To answer the question, “Why is date coding required?” we should explore how food manufacturers work with different stakeholders. When it comes to date coding, manufacturers must live up to the standards set by the government, their industry, and their consumers. By comparing how these influences create the date codes we see on our products today, we can better understand why they are required.

To Comply With the Law

Surprisingly, the United States Federal Government has very little control over date coding food items. The jurisdictions of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are limited to regulations regarding only “misleading” labels.

While the Federal Government cannot truly enforce food quality consistency, state governments are not so limited. State governments have far more reaching powers over the regulation of date coding. Food standards vary widely between states. As it stands, 41 states require some form of date coding, and nine do not require any.

To Follow Industry Standards

Without a unified, state-by-state requirement for date coding, manufacturers of the same industry typically follow the rules they set for themselves. Very often, the dates written by inkjet coding printers were determined by industry standards, not a governmental body. However, their standards must at least meet the minimum requirements of every state in which their products are sold. Walmart announced in 2004 that all their food suppliers must include a “best if used by” date on their products.

To Inform the Consumer

The only complete answer to the question, “Why is dating coding required?” is that it provides necessary information to the consumer. Although the Federal Government does not have the direct authority to determine date coding regulations, and although many industries devise their own standards, the people that work in food production still want to offer customers the best experience possible. As a result, thorough and honest date codes are commonplace.

Topics: Inkjet Coding, Date coding, inkjet coder, date code, date coder

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