Learn how to date code product and service dating

Interpreting the 12 Printed Digits on a Barcode Reading UPC Barcodes without the Numbers Community Q&A UPC barcodes typically encode an ID assigned to the company that manufactures or sells the product, along with a code that the company assigns to that particular product.

In rare cases, you can find a little more information by reading the 12 digits.

Knowing what these terms mean will help you understand the labels, which in turn will help you make informed choices about the food you buy.

A "best-before" date, also known as a durable life date, tells you when the durable life period of a prepackaged food ends.

With either the lens' serial number or date code, that question can be answered.

Canon has been transitioning to a 10-digit lens serial number (starting in 2008 with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens) and ending the inclusion of a separate manufacturing date code.

Currently, more than 10 different date labels on packages – such as Sell By, Use By, Expires On, Best Before, Better if Used By or Best By – can result in confused consumers discarding a safe or usable product after the date on the package.“Our product code dating initiative is the latest example of how retailers and manufacturers are stepping up to help consumers and to reduce food waste,” said Pamela G. “The shopper remains the most critical audience in our industry, and as the associations representing major food brands and retailers, we want to encourage a consistent vocabulary so that our customers clearly understand they are purchasing products that are of the highest quality and safety possible,” said Leslie G. “While we all need nourishment, both retailers and manufacturers also want consumers to have the best experience possible in their stores and consuming their products.” “The customer comes first in our business, and this voluntary industry initiative provides shoppers with clear, easily understood date label information, so our customers can be confident in the product’s quality and safety,” said Joe Colalillo, president of Shop Rite of Hunterdon County, Inc. “Food retailers and manufacturers are working towards the common goal of bringing consistency and greater clarity in product date label messaging.We want to ensure our customers have meaningful information that helps them make the best decisions for their families, both in the store when they shop and when they enjoy foods at home." “Eliminating confusion for consumers by using common product date wording is a win-win because it means more products will be used instead of thrown away in error,” said Jack Jeffers, Vice President of Quality at Dean Foods, which led GMA’s work on this issue.However, now we can age a lens based on the serial number alone.For information on determining the age of a pre-10-digit serial number lens, see the section on interpreting the old date code below.

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