When it comes to date marking, it is important for an operation to understand the code requirements. Once you understand the requirements it is key to have a system or standard operating procedure in place that is easy for staff to follow.
Download the Date Marking poster that you can post in your operation.
The Kansas Food Code requires all potentially hazardous food (PHF) / Time/Temperature control for safety food (TCS), prepared in house or commercially prepared and opened, that is held for longer than 24 hours to be clearly marked to indicate the date or day by which the food shall be consumed, sold, or discarded. The date marking system helps operators identify either when the food was prepared, or when it should be discarded. One of the main reasons for date marking is that some bacteria like Listeria, will continue to grow slowly under refrigeration. Listeria has a high death rate.
The manufacturer’s expiration date on a commercial package does not allow the product to be kept for more than 7 days, once open. An example of this would be opening a gallon of milk. The expiration date is the date through which the manufacturer guarantees the unopened food will meet their quality standards. Date marking for discard ensures the safety of the food. Once opened, the milk should be marked with the date it was opened and the date it should be discarded.
What’s the Law?
- Ready-to-eat foods, PHF/TCS food must be date marked if held for more than 24 hours.
- The food must be consumed or discarded within 7 days.
Proper Date Marking Systems:
- Label each item with the name of the product.
- Mark the item with the date the product was made, the date it should be discarded, or both. By using the made/used by date or the day it should be discarded, staff can easily identify what food should be used or removed each day. Using only the date product is made requires staff to calculate dates for each item on a daily basis.
- Products must be used or discarded within 7 days of preparation or opening if food is maintained at the correct temperature. The day of preparation shall be counted as day 1.
- It is also a good idea for a manager or lead to do daily cooler checks to make sure items are dated and discarded appropriately
Example 1: Food prepped made on Jan 1, must be used by Jan 7
Example 2: Food prepped on Jan 1 at 6:00 PM, must be used by Jan 8th at 6:00 PM.
It is crucial for an operation to have a system that is fully implemented, so anyone working in food prep knows when to discard an item.
If you have specific food safety questions let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. By partnering with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and industry operators, our goal is to create a safe food supply in Kansas.