Canned goods can last indefinitely, therefore they are not required to display expiration dates. Some manufacturers, however, may stamp the top or bottom of canned goods with "best if used by" dates to ensure taste and quality. Although all cans contain packing codes, consumers should not depend on these codes.
Acidic foods, such as fruits and tomatoes, maintain their quality for up to 18 months past the manufacture date. Other canned foods, such as vegetables and meats, maintain their quality for between two and five years. To maintain the quality, store canned goods at temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although most canned goods are safe to eat, consumers should discard dented, bulging or leaking cans.