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Once a perishable product is frozen at proper temperatures, it does not matter if the date expires because food kept frozen continuously is safe indefinitely.Packaging is important to the quality and appearance of frozen foods.

If a calendar date is shown, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of the date such as “sell by” or “use before.” There is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States. Many processed and packaged foods are shelf stable, which means that they do not require refrigeration until opened.Products exposed to air can develop “freezer burn” which does not affect the safety of the product, but can impact taste and quality.Cans must exhibit a packing code to enable tracking of the product in interstate commerce.Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe!The acid content of the food and the lining of the can are important factors in a product’s quality and appearance after long periods of storage. The Universal Production Codes (UPC) or bar codes appear on packages as black lines of varying widths above a series of numbers.

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Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile.