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of Agriculture Food Safety & Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS), "By understanding the coding on the egg cartons, chefs and bakers can determine the freshness of the eggs.To determine freshness, a Julian date or pack-date calendar can be used.

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In spite of the fact that increasing numbers of food processing companies are moving to open dating it is not yet universal.

For those products that do not come with a plain "best used by" date it is still possible, albeit with much more difficulty, to determine the rotation period for that specific product.

Is there a way to tell from the egg carton how old the eggs are? Each carton of USDA graded eggs must show the date of packaging, the processing plant number, and may include an expiration date.

Are there some guidelines for how long eggs are safe to eat? USDA assures that all labeling and claims made on the carton are truthful and accurate.

Grocery manufacturers and retailers have joined together to streamline and standardize the wording accompanying the date labels on packages to offer greater clarity regarding the quality and safety of products.

The new industry-wide effort launched by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Food Marketing Institute will help reduce consumer confusion over dates on the product label which can result in unnecessary food waste.

Open dating is typically found on perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

After an open date passes, food may not be at the best quality, but products should still be safe if handled properly and stored at proper temperatures.

As they are not really intended for general public knowledge these codes are frequently unique to a particular processor and are not commonly published by them.

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