School District: Complaints About Juice in Jackson Unfounded

Jackson residents should not fear juice, according to a statement made on the district’s website today.

A message on Facebook caused a stir in Jackson Township on Thursday over bad juice being served by the school district, but those fears were unfounded according to the Jackson School District.  A picture of a juice container circulated on social media showing what appeared to be an expiration date of 2009 had parents worried, but school district officials today said parents should not fear the juice.

The original post read, “I would like to know how this could pass through the school cafeteria and be served to the kids! There are 3 other cases of this I’ve heard of and this is outrageous and unacceptable. Please make sure that if you buy school lunch, to check the expiration date before you drink juice. This is poison!”

The juice will not poison your children, the district responded.

According to the district, the intent of the labeling on the package was misinterpreted by a parent as a date, instead, it is a product timestamp by the juice vendor.

From the Jackson School District

It has been brought to our attention that a timestamp on Ardmore juice products being sold in our school cafeterias can be misunderstood to be an expiration date.

Please know that the portion of the stamp causing confusion does not reflect a year, but rather the production time stamp (in military time).

For example: A stamp on a juice container may read: “H303 7 C 2011”

It is very easy to read the 2011 portion of that as an expiration date. However, the vendor uses that last portion as a TIME stamp for their products, in military time.

A letter from the manufacturer, which details their methods of labeling, is linked here: Letters Regarding Juice Label Coding. Using that information, in the example above:

  • The H in that example refers to the production location (Houston)
  • The 303 refers to the Julian date, which is the day of the year (the 303rd day of the year, or Oct. 30th)
  • The 7 refers to the last digit of the year (2017)
  • The C refers to the production line (LIne C)
  • The 2011 is the military time of production, which sometimes has a colon, but in this instance does not (2011 or 20:11, or 8:11 p.m.)

Our guidance from the manufacturer is that their juice can remain frozen for one year and is best used two weeks after it is thawed.

Here in the Jackson School District, the juice is shipped to us frozen, and we thaw cases of it daily as we get ready to use it each day. We use approximately 15-20 cases of juice per day and our use practices are well within the guidelines of the manufacturer.

As another example to show how much those last digits on the label can vary, below are two snapshots of juice labels from today’s cafeterias. In these examples, the last numbers (2010 and 1149) refer to production times of 8:10 p.m. and 11:49 a.m.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Food Service Office at 732-415-7014.

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