Sunkist cans bear a manufacture date code, not an expiration date or sell-by date code. The soda is considered fresh for 39 weeks from the manufacture date (13 weeks for diet product and product in plastic bottles). The first step is to be sure to locate the correct code. It is printed on the bottom of the can. However, there are often other codes on the bottom of the can as well — codes which have nothing to do with the dating of the product, so don’t get confused.

To read the date, understand that:

  • The first two digits refer to the month (01 for January through 12 for December)
  • The next three digits refer to the day of the year (out of 365)
  • The final digit tells you the year of manufacture

For example, “12 337 0” tells us that this can of soda was produced in early December of 2010 (specifically, the 337th day of the year, if you care to count them out). The soda will be considered “expired” around September 2011.This information is frustratingly difficult to get from Sunkist or from Google searches. Hopefully this post helps someone in the future. We will add more posts under the tag “Expiration Codes” and try to build a mini-database.

Unfortunately, while many manufacturers print sell-by dates in clear English, many others use obscure codes that keep the consumer guessing — often confusing us into thinking that we’re about to consume something that’s wildly outdated, even though it may be perfectly fine. As the Office Refreshments Experts, we want to spread as much knowledge as possible.

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