Prepared food in the refrigerator must be date marked with what information?

Prepared food in the refrigerator must be date marked with what information?


When it comes to storing prepared food in the refrigerator, it is essential to ensure proper labeling and date marking. This article will discuss the information that should be included when date marking prepared food in the refrigerator, helping you maintain food safety and prevent any potential health risks.

Why is date marking important?

Date marking is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to track the freshness and quality of the food. By knowing when the food was prepared, you can ensure that it is consumed within a safe timeframe. Additionally, date marking allows for proper rotation of food items, ensuring that older items are used first, reducing waste.

What information should be included in date marking?

When date marking prepared food in the refrigerator, the following information should be included:

Date of preparation: This is the date when the food was initially prepared. It helps to determine the freshness and age of the food.

Use-by date: The use-by date is the date by which the food should be consumed to ensure optimal quality and safety. It is determined based on factors such as the type of food, storage conditions, and potential bacterial growth. It is important to adhere to the use-by date to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Product name or description: It is essential to include the name or description of the prepared food to avoid confusion and ensure proper identification.

Additional information: Depending on the specific requirements or regulations of your local health department or food safety guidelines, you may need to include additional information such as allergen warnings or specific storage instructions.

How to label prepared food properly

To ensure that prepared food is properly labeled, follow these guidelines:

Clear and legible: The label should be easy to read and understand. Use a permanent marker or labels that won’t smudge or fade over time.

Visible placement: The label should be placed in a visible location on the container or packaging. This makes it easy to identify and check the date without having to open the container.

Secure attachment: Ensure that the label is securely attached to the container or packaging. This prevents it from getting lost or detached during storage.

Consistent format: Use a consistent format for labeling, including the same information in the same order. This helps to avoid confusion and ensures that everyone understands the labeling system.


Properly date marking prepared food in the refrigerator is crucial for maintaining food safety and preventing any potential health risks. By including the date of preparation, use-by date, product name or description, and any additional information required, you can ensure that the food is consumed within a safe timeframe and avoid any potential foodborne illnesses.


– Food Safety and Inspection Service. (n.d.). Food Product Dating. Retrieved from