The first 2 is the last digit of the year, so it means 2012. 122112X: First two digits = month, next two digits = day, last two digits = year.35628B2: First three digits = day of the year (the 356th day), next digit = year.Most expiration dates are used as guidelines based on normal and expected handling and exposure to temperature.
The calendar date provides consumers with information on the estimated period of time for which the product will be of best quality and to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale.
According to the USDA, "canned foods are safe indefinitely as long as they are not exposed to freezing temperatures, or temperatures above 90 °F (32.2° C). In most food stores, waste is minimized by using stock rotation, which involves moving products with the earliest sell by date from the warehouse to the sales area, and then to the front of the shelf, so that most shoppers will pick them up first and thus they are likely to be sold before the end of their shelf life.
This is important, as consumers enjoy fresher goods, and furthermore some stores can be fined for selling out of date products; most if not all would have to mark such products down as wasted, resulting in a financial loss.
In other words, it might refer to whether a commodity should no longer be on a pantry shelf (unfit for use), or just no longer on a supermarket shelf (unfit for sale, but not yet unfit for use).
It applies to cosmetics, foods and beverages, medical devices, medicines, explosives, pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals, tires, batteries and many other perishable items.