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OneHump
07-06-2011, 02:41 PM
I've got two packages of Swift spares from Costco. On the back it says "Use or freeze by" and there is a code there.

One is 174111 and the other is 168111. :help:

Anyone have any idea about how to translate that?

sfbbqguy
07-06-2011, 03:56 PM
That's a real teaser? Maybe send Costco an email with the same question...

colonel00
07-06-2011, 04:18 PM
From what I could find on the intergoogle, it appears that the first three digits might be a day count from the start of the year. So, 174 would be June 23 and 168 would be June 17. This is purely a guess based on the information below:


Explanation: The first two digits are the year.
07 = 2007, 10 = 2010
The next three digits are the numerical day of the year. (Julian Date)
001 = Jan. 1, 035 = Feb. 4, 365 = Dec. 31
Example: 07182 = July 1, 2007

harripooner
07-06-2011, 04:33 PM
Out of curiosity I emailed them or JBSS which I'm hoping is the parent company. I'll keep you posted.

"I bought some swift spare ribs the other day and noticed a funny use or freeze by date. 174111 and 168111. Any clue? I was guessing january 74th, 20,111, but I'm pretty sure that more in the realm of a twinky's persistence not pork."

OneHump
07-06-2011, 04:41 PM
Thanks everyone.

I did try to call JBS, but they were useless. I also checked Google and didn't see anything that jumped out. Brad may be on the right track, but then I'll have expired ribs...

Let's hope not. :)

Curious to see what you end up with harripooner, thanks for doing that.

OakPit
07-06-2011, 05:21 PM
One code is for Harry Su - the other code is for everyone else. One must have slipped by.

BigButzBBQ
07-06-2011, 06:05 PM
A quick guess. If you picked these up recently, then the code dating is most likely reverse julian dating. Meaning July, 11th ish (174) and July, 17th ish (168), most likely the 111 is a reference to some date and possible batch number for the day.

Ron_L
07-06-2011, 06:06 PM
Reverse Julian?

BigButzBBQ
07-06-2011, 06:14 PM
Reverse Julian?

Yeah, Julian dating is when you go from the first day of the year and count ahead, I.E: Jan 1st is 001 and December 31st (in a non leap year) is 365. Some companies do it in reverse where Jan 1st is 365 and December 31st is 001. Another one of those things to try to confuse people if possible so companies can get away with keeping product out as long as possible.

cholloway
07-06-2011, 06:17 PM
Why not just stamp 'em with a freakin' date???
Nevermind...
Then I read BigButz' post.

BigButzBBQ
07-06-2011, 06:22 PM
Why not just stamp 'em with a freakin' date???
Nevermind...
Then I read BigButz' post.

Yeah, the weird thing is, it might not even be the company that did it, it might be costco that did it or it might be their requirement. I've heard of large chains requiring certain dating on their packages. It's very possible that those ribs came in over a month ago and were just thawed out a couple days before or the day that they were bought.

Ron_L
07-06-2011, 06:25 PM
Yeah, Julian dating is when you go from the first day of the year and count ahead, I.E: Jan 1st is 001 and December 31st (in a non leap year) is 365. Some companies do it in reverse where Jan 1st is 365 and December 31st is 001. Another one of those things to try to confuse people if possible so companies can get away with keeping product out as long as possible.

I understand using the Julian date, but I've never heard of reverse Julian.

BigButzBBQ
07-06-2011, 06:30 PM
I understand using the Julian date, but I've never heard of reverse Julian.

Yeah, its not often used, that I've seen, except by bigger companies. I have a callendar that has both Julian and the reverse on it in our factory. To me it would be really confusing to do it that way but, I suppose it would be an underhanded way to sneak a possibly expired product under someones nose.

OneHump
07-06-2011, 10:06 PM
After 7 calls, and suffering through a horde of morons, I spoke with the meat manager at Costco, who called their regional meat manager for me. He said that it's a Lot number that corresponds to a date in their internal systems. He claims that they turn over so many ribs that there really isn't any time for them to expire.

I've never heard of anyone getting sick from Costco ribs, but I'd love to know what the manufacturer's date is.

I had a situation earlier in the year where our local high-end speciality store opened a 3 month expired box of IBP shoulders. We ended up with two of them, which the "butcher" said were "fine" after I called in to complain about the smell. You may recall the thread that I posted here. The point is that I don't put the burden of proof on the vendor, I put it on myself. For that reason, I'd like to know when the pig died.

Thanks for all of the great input. I can always count on the brethren.

mykz26
07-06-2011, 10:14 PM
After 7 calls, and suffering through a horde of morons, I spoke with the meat manager at Costco, who called their regional meat manager for me. He said that it's a Lot number that corresponds to a date in their internal systems. He claims that they turn over so many ribs that there really isn't any time for them to expire.

I've never heard of anyone getting sick from Costco ribs, but I'd love to know what the manufacturer's date is.

I had a situation earlier in the year where our local high-end speciality store opened a 3 month expired box of IBP shoulders. We ended up with two of them, which the "butcher" said were "fine" after I called in to complain about the smell. You may recall the thread that I posted here. The point is that I don't put the burden of proof on the vendor, I put it on myself. For that reason, I'd like to know when the pig died.

Thanks for all of the great input. I can always count on the brethren.

Wonder what the USDA would think of that???

OneHump
07-07-2011, 12:19 AM
Wonder what the USDA would think of that???

I'm pretty sure that the distribution site stamps the "Costco" date on the package in accordance with the lot's expiration. I'd just rather see the packer's date for myself.

martyleach
07-07-2011, 12:25 AM
I completely agree with you. I thought there was a requirement to post a date, "use or freeze by" on the meat. I know a guy in procurement management at costco. I'm going to give him a call.

After 7 calls, and suffering through a horde of morons, I spoke with the meat manager at Costco, who called their regional meat manager for me. He said that it's a Lot number that corresponds to a date in their internal systems. He claims that they turn over so many ribs that there really isn't any time for them to expire.

I've never heard of anyone getting sick from Costco ribs, but I'd love to know what the manufacturer's date is.

I had a situation earlier in the year where our local high-end speciality store opened a 3 month expired box of IBP shoulders. We ended up with two of them, which the "butcher" said were "fine" after I called in to complain about the smell. You may recall the thread that I posted here. The point is that I don't put the burden of proof on the vendor, I put it on myself. For that reason, I'd like to know when the pig died.

Thanks for all of the great input. I can always count on the brethren.

Boshizzle
07-07-2011, 12:37 AM
I don't buy Costco ribs or pork anymore. They just don't taste fresh to me. Who knows what the date means and it's a shame that the meat manager at a major chain can't even tell you what the code means.

No more Costco ribs or pork for me. I'm out of their game.

colonel00
07-07-2011, 07:54 AM
Yup, that is the worst of all. Like Boshizzle said, the meat manager should have recognized the code immediately and been able to explain the date to you off the top of his head. If it is not something he deals with on a day to day basis fine, but he should have been able to quickly grab an employee who is familiar and have them explain it. This is a bit scary that they do not know the dates on the meat. Maybe it was on the case or something but it should be posted for the consumer. It does not matter how fast they go through stock.

harripooner
07-07-2011, 09:37 AM
So I haven't heard back yet from my email and probably won't, but who knows. I would just return them to costco if you aren't planning on using them soon. They will take anything back and especially if they can't verify the date. You could always inquire with a local public health inspector or food inspector or something. There has got to be some sort health inspector that monitors for expired meats.

Fletch711
07-07-2011, 11:06 AM
After 7 calls, and suffering through a horde of morons, I spoke with the meat manager at Costco, who called their regional meat manager for me. He said that it's a Lot number that corresponds to a date in their internal systems. He claims that they turn over so many ribs that there really isn't any time for them to expire.

I've never heard of anyone getting sick from Costco ribs, but I'd love to know what the manufacturer's date is.

I had a situation earlier in the year where our local high-end speciality store opened a 3 month expired box of IBP shoulders. We ended up with two of them, which the "butcher" said were "fine" after I called in to complain about the smell. You may recall the thread that I posted here. The point is that I don't put the burden of proof on the vendor, I put it on myself. For that reason, I'd like to know when the pig died.

Thanks for all of the great input. I can always count on the brethren.
Another reason to purchase your meat from a real butcher.

OneHump
07-07-2011, 04:09 PM
Another reason to purchase your meat from a real butcher.

Been there, done that. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. I had been using Bryan's Fine Foods for some time, but he's getting the same IBP/Swift meat that everyone else gets. He was very candid about the state of the meat industry, and it wasn't a pretty picture.

I then started buying natural and organic from Whole Foods. I even did my last cook with organic pork from Berkeley Bowl, which cost me over $250 for 4 racks of spares and 2 shoulders. While that meat is high quality, it tends to have less fat and ends up a bit more dry than the "cheap meat".

I'm honestly tired of spending so much on an inferior product and these spares form Costco do look really good. The question here was what the code represents. I highly doubt that these ribs are anything but fresh.

In a perfect world, I would love to visit a butcher who starts with a whole hog sourced locally and raised naturally. In today's world, that's a difficult find, and would be very expensive.

Fletch711
07-07-2011, 04:22 PM
I feel you. Costco it is. We luckily have real butcher shops here in New Orleans, but expect it all comes from the same place like you said. I've never tried pork from Whole Foods....I'm not into the whole lack of aluminum in my deodorant type of crowd.

:wink: