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Date Coding

Date labeling, or coding, on food and beverage packages is intended to convey information about product quality, freshness and performance. Date coding also communicates important product information from manufacturers to retailers for inventory management purposes. 

In Canada, specific date information needs to be included on the cases that contain food and beverages to:

  • Preserve product quality and freshness
  • Allow for efficient stock rotations
  • Minimize waste and spoilage

While some manufacturers already provide secondary date information – such as production, expiration, and/or best before dates there is agreement within the industry that dates need to be clearly available on cases using an industry-wide standard.

In response to the grocery and foodservice sectors’ need for standardized dates on frozen and dairy products, the industry has finalized a case date coding protocol based on GS1 standards.

The industry implementation Protocol for Case Date Coding reflects industry’s agreement to adopt standard marking and communication of date information on cases.  

Endorsed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and FCPC, the protocol will ensure consistency in these sectors across industry.

GS1 Canada, in partnership with supporting industry associations, will assist industry implementation by providing education on case date coding standards in line with adoption and implementation timelines which have been established. 

Effective January 1, 2012 the date standard format expressed in the protocol will be accepted as the industry standard. 


To find out more click here.