How to Figure Out Your Food Storage Manufacture Date

Written by The Ready Store

We often get questions about the manufacture dates printed on our #10 cans.

Cans of food.
Previously, The Ready Store placed a Julian calendar date on our #10 cans, however, we have recently simplified the everything by printing new, easy-to-read manufacturer dates!

Meals-Ready-to-Eat are primarily used by the United States military, which uses a Julian calendar. Find out more about how MRE manufacture dates are figured.

Expiration Dates
Many times, people will ask us “Why don’t you just put an expiration date on the can?” The reason is because the expiration date depends on your storage environment. Ideally, you would store the food in an environment with temperatures between 60-75 °F.

Manufacture Dates
The Ready Store is in the process of changing the way we label our cans. While we previously listed a Julian Calendar date, we will now be labeling our #10 cans with easy-to-read dates!

Where to locate your can's manufacture date

MREs, which are manufactured by the same companies who provides MREs to the military, will continue to use the Julian Calendar system and we have no ability to influence a change. You can learn more about decoding the MRE manufacture dates here.

Julian Calendar
We realize that many people will have food they purchased in their food storage pantry with the julian date stamps. So, we thought it would be important to highlight how you can figure out the numbers date based on the Julian Calendar.

The Julian Calendar has been around for centuries. In our day, it is widely used on a wide variety of manufactured products as a standard means of dating. It is also used by parts of the military and as an astrological measurement. The Julian Calendar is basically a continuous count of days starting January 1, 4713 BC.

The Ready Store used a modified version of the Julian Calendar. Let me show you some examples:

So in the first example, you can see that the Julian date is 10229. This means that the product was manufactured in 2010 on the 229th day of the year.

In the second example, the Julian date is 11067. This option includes a bath reference number and a product code. The Julian code will show that 11067 was manufactured on March 8, 2011.

The third example highlights the Julian date a little more. It puts a dash between the batch reference number and the Julian code. 11143 would translate to May 23, 2011.

The last example is what shows on the label of some Saratoga Farms cans. It shows the Julian date in red. That day would translate to the 289th day of 2012 – or October 15, 2012.

Print Out
We’ve also prepared a printable sheet that you can keep with your food storage documents in order to reference the dates in case of an emergency or power outage. Here is also a good overview of a comprehensive food storage list.

Click here to view the PDF.

Updated April 5, 2012


  1. Jan wrote:

    RE: Your post “MREs.
    Meals-Ready-to-Eat are primarily used by the United States military, which uses a Julian calendar. Click on this link to see how MRE manufacture dates are figured.”

    When I clicked on this, I was told this link no longer exists. ??????

    June 4th, 2012 at 7:32 am
  2. The Ready Store wrote:

    Hey Jan, Thanks for the note! Sorry about the link. It should be fixed now.

    June 4th, 2012 at 8:16 am
  3. Georgina Clark wrote:

    Hey this is agreat information. The PDF is fully working now.

    September 27th, 2012 at 6:48 am
  4. Deb wrote:

    In your #4 option to read your package date on the label on the can, you did not explain how to read this date 28912. Could you tell me what date this means? Thanks.

    November 26th, 2012 at 12:44 pm
  5. The Ready Store wrote:

    Hey Deb,
    The 4th option shows a modified Julian date. That would translate to Oct 15, 2012. The 289th day of ’12 – 28912.

    November 27th, 2012 at 1:07 pm
  6. madelaine kaiser wrote:

    I have always felt that the continued use of the Julian calendar on food products was just a deceitful practice so that the ordinary shopper would not know how old the items really were. SOOOOO glad to read that you have stopped using this outmoded, confusing if not deceitful, method. Thanks

    August 9th, 2013 at 11:50 pm
  7. Wayne wrote:

    I have a large quantity of name brand freeze dried food in #10 cans that are around 30 years old now. At what point are they no good and what are the consequences of still using them OR what should I look for as an indication there is a potential problem with their use?

    January 4th, 2015 at 3:03 pm
  8. trisha wrote:

    Hart brand made by Seneca foods corp.called got the run around.
    Hart Brand low sodium carrots.K3E1021B 11:11 3521 CRT SL
    Received cases of vegetables to make baskets for needy at church do not know safe to consume or expiration plz Ty

    April 22nd, 2015 at 11:04 am

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