How to Figure Out Your Food Storage Manufacture Date

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!

figure out food storage manufacture date

Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) 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!

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.

figure out food storage manufacture date
figure out food storage manufacture date
figure out food storage manufacture date
figure out food storage manufacture date
figure out food storage manufacture date

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.

14 thoughts on “How to Figure Out Your Food Storage Manufacture Date”

  • Jan

    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. ??????

  • Georgina Clark

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

  • Deb

    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.

  • madelaine kaiser
    madelaine kaiser August 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    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

  • Wayne

    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?

  • trisha

    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

  • Dustin

    We bought a bucket from Costco, how do we tell the manufacturing date? Do we have to open the bucket or is there a code on the outside?

  • David Ernst

    I recently recieved a shipment from you of the military meals Entree Variety Pack , Transaction ID 7772947529. I can not find how to decode the manufacture date as neither the box entrees nor the loose bags have four digit codes on them. The boxes have a stamped 5 digit number 15288 and the loose bags have 5195BY3N EST 15893 00 : 38 4 printed on them. Are these date codes and if so how can I decode them. They are not the 4 digit Julian codes that are mentioned in all the articles about identifying the date code.

  • Tonya

    How do you determine when food will expire using the Julian date

  • Curt

    This article has been changed. It used to contain more information for Julian dates on #10 cans.

    You can still view the original, better (IMO) article on the Wayback Machine here:

    I also have a copy of it in PDF format.

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