Topic credit: Grandma Bonnie Peters, in real life.
Subtitle: How to Check the Codes on Canned Goods
GBP shared the cautionary tale of a lady who bought several big cans of Libby’s solid-pack pumpkin in 2009. Being aware that canneries stamp different codes on canned goods to indicate when the food was packed, she thought it was safe to stock up on enough pumpkin to meet her family’s needs through 2013, since the numbers on the cans began with 9 and ended with 13.
Apparently nobody complained about the pumpkin in 2012, but in 2013, when the lady started her Thanksgiving baking, the contents of one can of pumpkin smelled just like an old, corroded can. So she called the Nestlé’s and Libby’s hotline to report that the pumpkin had not actually lasted until 2013.
“What’s the number on the end of the can again?” asked the company employee.
“They have different ones,” said the lady, reading off two or three numbers.
“Oh my!” said the employee. “The numbers begin with ‘9’ because they were meant to be eaten before 2009!”
One can never simply assume that a number that looks like a date, stamped on a canned food product, really is a date. The numbers could have begun with "9" because the pumpkin was canned at Site #9, or on the 9th day of the month.
In a supermarket the employees are supposed to monitor how long cans have been on the shelves for you, but if you want to buy lots of cans at one time, it's helpful to contact the manufacturer to learn how the date stamp code works.