So how long can you store that leftover meatloaf anyway? Have you ever opened a container from your refrigerator and sniffed it to see if it was still edible? With the date codes printed on food items these days it's easier to know how long an item can be shelved in your kitchen, but once the item is opened or cooked the expiration date and use by date may not be as important as when the item was first cooked or exposed to air.
The date codes on boxes, cans, and other packed foods are printed on the surface of the food packaging from high speed coding equipment such as the Matthews e-Mark C02 laser coding system, the e-Solarmark C02 system, and
Leibinger's Jet2Neo and Jet 3 inkjet systems are key elements to clear marking and coding solutions for food manufacturers and producers.
See the chart below for suggested storage times for refigerated and frozen foods: