Letter Re: Question on Canned Food Alphanumeric Date Codes

I’ve noticed Sam’s Club is carrying large (#10 size) cans of chicken and other foods. I looked for expiration dates and could not find any. There was a series of numbers. I’ve heard those numbers reveal the dates. Could you tell me how to read or decipher them? Thanks, – Laura C.

JWR Replies: This has been mentioned before in the blog, but is bears repeating. It’s important to have a Julian Calendar (since some packers use Julian dates) and a hard copy of this chart showing how to decipher date of pack codes from various canners and packers. Print them both out and keep them in your Key References Binder.

OBTW, if you don’t already have a Key References Binder, then start one! I suggest that you use a sturdy 2″ ring binder and a thick stack of archival page protectors. To start filling your binder, search the SurvivalBlog Archives using the search phrase: “references and hard and copy”. You’ll find lots of articles like this one. It is best to also save as many of those references as you can on your G.O.O.D. Kit memory stick.

If your binder eventually overflows, then split it into two binders: One for the workshop, and one for the kitchen. Oh, and be sure to include those binders in your “Last Minute Grab and Go” list. For any references that will be frequently used in your shop or out in the boonies, you might want to print them on HP LaserJet Tough Paper. (It is waterproof.)