where is the expiration date on hormel black label bacon

Where to Find the Expiration Date on Hormel Black Label Bacon

Knowing where to look for the expiration date on Hormel Black Label bacon ensures you serve up safe, high-quality breakfasts and meals. Like many packaged foods, this popular bacon features a date stamp that indicates freshness and storage time. Read on to learn where to find it and how to decipher the date codes.

What Is Hormel Black Label Bacon?

Hormel Black Label bacon includes several varieties of raw and fully cooked bacon made by Hormel Foods. The well-known brand offers original and lower-sodium options as well as fully cooked bacon strips and Canadian bacon.

Black Label bacon is sold refrigerated in grocery store meat sections. Varieties include:

  • Original raw sliced bacon
  • 40% Less Sodium raw sliced bacon
  • Fully Cooked original and lower sodium bacon
  • Fully Cooked Canadian-style bacon

Raw bacon styles need to be prepared before eating while the fully cooked options allow you to heat and eat directly from the package.

Why Check Expiration Dates?

Freshness and food safety should be top concerns when storing and preparing bacon. Out-of-date bacon may not be safe to eat if harmful bacteria have multiplied.

Watching expiration dates prevents serving spoiled bacon that could cause foodborne illness, Date codes also ensure you get the best texture and flavor

Where to Locate the Expiration Date

Hormel prints expiration or “best by” dates on the front or back of Black Label bacon packages. Check the primary display panel for a date stamp. If you don’t see it there, turn the package over to look on the back.

Depending on the variety, you may find the date printed near the nutrition facts, UPC barcode, or at the bottom edge. Fully cooked bacon tend to list dates more noticeably on the front.

Tip: If you can’t find an expiration date printed directly on the package, look for a production code stamped on the wrapper. Production codes are coded dates that manufacturers use internally to track products. With some decoding, they provide date information.

Decoding Date Formats

Date formats vary among Hormel bacon items. Here are some examples along with what the dates mean:

  • Best By 07/12/21 – Recommended last date for peak quality and flavor.

  • Use By 07/10/21 – Last date recommended for use while still at peak quality.

  • Sell By 07/15/21 – Recommended date for retailers to display. Buy it by this date.

  • Freeze By 07/20/21 – Last date recommended to freeze for storage.

  • 071521 – Closed or coded date that provides the production date. “07” is the year, “15” is the day of the year, and “21” is the plant code.

  • JUL 12 2021 – Full date spelling indicates the expiration date. Do not use after this date.

  • 71221 – Numeric date without slashes. “7” is the month, “12” is the day, and “21” the year.

Follow the Use By or Sell By dates for freshness. Discard bacon that is past its expiration date even if it looks or smells fine. Freezing previously frozen meat can make it unsafe, so only freeze unopened packages before the Use or Freeze By date.

How Long Does Hormel Black Label Bacon Last?

Unopened, shelf life depends on the type:

  • Raw bacon – About 2 weeks after the packaged date

  • Fully cooked bacon:

    • Original and lower sodium – About 6 weeks
    • Canadian-style – About 8 weeks

Once opened, use refrigerated bacon within:

  • Raw – 5 to 7 days

  • Fully cooked

    • Original and lower sodium – 5 to 7 days
    • Canadian-style – 5 to 7 days

The fridge slows bacteria growth to extend storage times. Discard sooner if bacon develops an off smell, flavor, or slimy texture.

Freeze raw bacon up to about 1 month and cooked bacon 2 to 3 months for maximum freshness. Thaw refrigerated bacon safely in the fridge 1 to 2 days before cooking.

Tips for Freshness

Follow these tips to keep Hormel Black Label bacon fresh longer:

  • Check dates and freeze new packages if you won’t use within 2 weeks.

  • Keep unopened bacon in the original packaging. Only open what you’ll use within 5 to 7 days.

  • Store opened bacon tightly wrapped in the fridge. Place inside a plastic bag or container to prevent drying out.

  • Cook bacon within 5 to 7 days of opening for raw bacon and fully cooked varieties. Discard sooner if it seems spoiled.

  • Mark the date opened on packages for reference.

  • Wrap cooked leftover bacon well and refrigerate up to 5 days.

  • Freeze extra raw bacon in the original packaging up to 1 month.

  • Portion fully cooked bacon into freezer bags and freeze up to 2 to 3 months.

Cooking and Heating Tips

  • Cook raw bacon thoroughly until crispy. Raw pork can contain bacteria. Fully cooked bacon just needs heating or can be eaten straight from the package.

  • Microwave fully cooked bacon about 20 to 30 seconds per slice to warm through.

  • Heat fully cooked bacon in a skillet or oven at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp it up.

  • Fry or bake raw bacon until it reaches 145°F minimum internal temperature.

  • Discard bacon that smells or looks spoiled before or after cooking. Don’t taste questionable bacon.

Serving Fresh Bacon Safely

Handle raw and cooked bacon properly to avoid cross-contamination:

  • Separate raw bacon from other foods in the fridge. Store fully cooked bacon away from raw meats.

  • Use different cutting boards and utensils for raw bacon than ready-to-eat foods. Clean thoroughly after working with raw bacon.

  • Wash hands with soap after handling uncooked bacon.

  • Cook bacon thoroughly. Serve it immediately or refrigerate within 2 hours.

  • Discard bacon left at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Bacteria multiply quickly.

  • When reheating fully cooked bacon, heat it to 165°F or until hot.

  • Never place cooked bacon back on a plate or surface that previously held raw bacon.

The Bottom Line

Checking and understanding expiration dates helps you store, prepare, and serve Hormel Black Label bacon safely. Locate any printed date codes on the package and decode them appropriately. Follow recommended time limits for refrigerating and freezing once opened. With proper handling and storage guided by the dates, you can enjoy tasty bacon dishes while avoiding foodborne illness.

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