Meat Packages Code Dates

Meat Packages Code Dates


It is extremely important for employees, especially meat wrappers, to
know the difference in code dating in fresh meats and code dating in
packaged products.

Code dating is generally recognized as “Use By” dating, where product is
not advisable to eat after the date on the package.

It does not state that product is “bad” or “spoiled”, if used after this date, only that the manufacturer.

The “Use by” fresh meat dating, contrary to most claims by media food “experts” is dictated more by “Department of Weights and Measures” who check regularly to make sure customers get the “weight” of product they paid for than by the “Use by” dating in the aforementioned deli, dairy, and other such factory packaged products.

Most fresh meats are pulled and checked, first for weight, then freshness, since it takes about 5-7 days for fresh meat to spoil.

The re=wrapped packages are then displayed for sale for 1 more day, and
if they have not sold by then they are pulled and discarded.

Fresh meat sells by color, consumers buy “RED” beef or “PINK” pork, when
beef and pork cuts are in the display case for about 3 days they turn
brown or grey color respectively, not necessarily spoiled, customers
will not buy, so in effect they police themselves.

Weights & Measures people check packages by removing the raw product from the packaging, weighing it and comparing the result to the “Net” weight on the package.


a) All meats wrapped and weighed in the market must be coded with the pack or pull date. the date the meat is packaged in the market or the day product must be
pulled and checked.

b.) Most fresh meat items such as steaks, chops and roasts have a maximum
case life of three (3) days before being checked.
example: packages dated the 20th may be left on display the 20th, 21st and 22nd, but must be removed from display prior to store opening the morning of the 23rd, or removed from the case the day following expiration date on the package.
packages are then to be inspected for quality and freshness and
re-wrapped if they qualify.


1. Any packaged meats showing discoloration, excessively bloody packages, or packages that are torn, must either be reduced in price for quick sale or removed from display for re-wrapping regardless of pack date.

2. All boneless roasts must be re-wrapped daily. if the roast does not
appear bright and fresh, do not re-wrap. instead, reprocess into steaks,
stew meat, ground beef, etc

3. Fresh ground meats have a case life of one day and should not be

4. Smoked meats not vacuum packaged and without an expiration date,
such as bacon squares, boneless butts, salt pork, smoked picnics, ham
hocks and whole bone-in hams) have a case life of six 6 days plus pack
date. hams, cut and wrapped at market level, have a case life of two (2)
days plus pack date, this includes full halves, portions, slices and sliced picnics.

5. At expiration date, packages are to be inspected for freshness and
re-wrapped or disposed of
Vacuum packed items with pull dates such as cry-o-vac™ smoked ham
portions, smoked ham portions, corned beef and chunk turkey breast, need
not be rescaled before the expiration date.
In some cases, product may need to be reduced to sell before the
expiration date.

6. Fresh fryers scaled in the market have a case life of 3 (three) days
this product may be re-wrapped and given one (1) more day if quality.
and freshness is good:

7. Frozen fish wrapped at the store level and displayed in the freezer in a
frozen state has a 14- day pull date.
Product on display after 14 days must be inspected for wholesomeness and
excessive ice buildup repackaged and reweighed.

8. All fresh fish and seafood items in the fresh meat case have a case
life of pack date plus two (2) days.
All fresh fish products should be opened and checked on the morning of the
fourth day-discard…do not rework

9. Convenience foods displayed in the fresh meat case (i.e. veal steaks,
corn dogs, Mexican foods, precooked items either prepackaged or packaged
in the market, must be coded with a pack date.

Case life of convenience foods is six (6) day plus pack date convenience
foods displayed in the freezer in a frozen state have a 14-day pull,
date (13 days + pack date) code dating re-wrapped packages of meat,
poultry, fish packages must be re-wrapped only if the product qualifies
for re-wrap.
Remove and destroy unsaleable items.
Re-wrapped packages must include the original ingredient label clearly
visible in or on each package.
Re-wrapped products are to remain on display one (1) day
Re-wraps left from the previous day must be checked for freshness each
The re-wrap code must be used on the label of all re-wrapped products.
This code clearly identifies that package as a “re-wrap.”

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